Louth County Council say they intend to “aggressively pursue” vacant social housing units as part of their efforts to deal with the shortage of available housing in Ardee and across the county.
Councillors at Thursday’s Ardee Municipal District meeting told that the local authority were working towards greatly reducing the number of vacant properties around Louth – using Compulsory Purchase Orders and Rebuilding Ireland’s Buy-and-Renew schemes.
The Buy and Renew Scheme provides funding for local authorities to purchase vacant properties and remediate them
“Wherever we feel there is a housing need, we will continue the CPO process,” Director of Services Joe McGuinness said at the meeting. Last month, the local authority announced a number of CPO’s in Ardee including properties in De La Salle and Campbell’s Park.
McGuinness also urged councillors – and local people – to involve themselves in the process by notifying the council about any vacant properties in the area, social or private properties. “I would recommend any councillor that sees a vacancy in their area, get on their phone and send it into the housing department.”
They can do so via VacantHomes.ie a website which allows people to nominate vacant properties in a secure and anonymous fashion. All people have to do is fill in address details about the property, and upload some images via phone. “It will feed itself back to us and then we can investigate that,” he said.
The county council also feel, in particular, that social houses left vacant by occupants is a growing problem. They were described at Thursday’s meeting as “a significant problem.” “We discovered three of these houses last week,” McGuinness said.
“It’s increasing and I intend to aggressively pursue those properties. If people feel any of our stock is not being used, they should advise the housing department.” There are currently 4,007 social houses in the council’s stock. Around 620 of them are in Ardee.