Further delays to Vacant Homes strategy while homelessness grows
Labour spokesperson on Housing, Jan O’Sullivan TD, has expressed her disappointment that the Government’s Vacant Homes Strategy has been delayed until at least late Autumn.
Deputy O’Sullivan made the comments following statements in the Dáil on Housing this morning.
Deputy O’Sullivan said:
“A fraction of the empty homes in Ireland would solve the Housing crisis.
“Yet, the new Housing Minister told the Dáil today that the Vacant Homes Strategy, due in the Spring of this year, is now delayed until, at least, late Autumn.
“With nearly 200,000 empty homes in the country, most of them in urban areas, this is a vital opportunity missed to avail of the quickest way to add to the stock available to house people who are homeless or on waiting lists.
“Minister Murphy told us that he has to engage with the Minister for Finance, that budgetary measures might cause delay and that he is awaiting the completion of a number of sub-reviews; these are all very well but why can’t we have the Strategy and let these measures follow?
“I particularly urge the appointment of Vacant Homes officers in each Local Authority to proactively go after empty properties, identify obstacles and solutions to get them back into use, as recommended by Peter McVerry Trust.
“I also believe we need a Vacant Homes Tax to drive owners who leave properties empty for long periods, to action. There are schemes in place to support refurbishing and leasing or sale to the Local Authority but it looks as if they won’t be widely used unless there is a stick as well as a carrot.
“The crisis is too acute to put this crucial pillar of the Action Plan on hold.”