Denis Naughten has told the Dáil that there is a fundamental flaw in our housing policy when there are 90,000 empty homes across the country in the middle of a housing crisis yet there are just 1,043 available to rent according to daft.ie.
Using his constituency of Roscommon Galway as an example he pointed out: “County Roscommon has 4,090 vacant homes yet there are just 12 for rent according to Daft.ie with a similar situation in East Galway with the towns of Ballinasloe, Ballygar, Dunmore and Glenamaddy alone having 184 vacant homes and just two available to rent.
“The Councils won’t use the Repair and Leasing Scheme to bring vacant properties in need of repair back into use for social housing, because the Council has to show that there is a social housing demand in the area before they can refurbish vacant homes, the perennial chicken and egg scenario.
“I have no doubt that if a home is refurbished and available for a fixed rent for five years, if someone on the social housing list doesn’t avail of it there are plenty of people renting privately in our towns and cities who would jump at the opportunity, which releases a house for a homeless family in an area of high demand.
“In just one example, I have a young mother that has been moved five times in the space of five weeks which is causing huge anxiety and distress to her young child with a disability, with no prospect of any type of secure accommodation, while family homes remain closed up in the same locality.”
Denis Naughten added: “Every year up to 4,500 people leave behind an empty home when they enter long-term nursing home care, yet just 400 of these homes are rented out as the Fair Deal Nursing Home Support Scheme charges an older person three separate times if they decide to rent it out. Reforming the Scheme to remove the financial barrier against renting the property would immediately release vacant family homes across our cities, towns, and rural areas.
“Government is willing to spend an average of €31,000 to provide roads, water, and wastewater services to allow for the development of private lands in our cities but has yet to provide a financial support to open up vacant homes across the country.
“While Minister Darragh O’Brien is supportive of proposals I have put forward to open up these homes, including taking on my proposal to remove the financial block on the use of homes vacated by people in long term nursing home care, we always seem to be just one report away from taking real and practical action.
“Rebuilding Ireland has failed to meet is annual target and is now 41,000 units below its overall goal and I believe Government needs to think creatively on innovative ways to provide homes by starting with the use of existing precious housing resources in our villages, towns and cities,” concluded Denis Naughten.
watch my contribution here: