Louth County Council say they have identified 60 properties in the county that can be brought up to standard for social housing use, with funding made available last month from the Department of Housing, but say they
Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien announced last month that €40 million of funding was being made available nationally for the return of, what the department estimated to be, 2,500 vacant local authority properties to productive use. A pot of €847,865 has been made available to Louth County Council to bring the void housing back into stock.
Minister O’Brien said the properties can be “re-let to individuals and families struggling with homelessness or on the social housing list. I have asked local authorities to take immediate steps to ensure that work on refurbishing vacant homes begins straight away.”
At the latest meeting of the Dundalk Municipal District, Director of Services for Housing Aoife Lawler described the funding as “really positive news” but outlined some of the challenges the local authority face in improving the properties.
“There’s a significant workload,” she said, stating that many of the properties had yet to be procured. “We only have six contractors on our framework but they are already working for us on other projects. It’s a big ask to turn these around by December.
“We will identify those with a significant need – maybe someone really vulnerable waiting for a house – or ones we can do in the timeframe.”
Currently, Louth County Council has 87 void housing units – six in Ardee and Mid-Louth, 18 in the Drogheda Borough District and 49 in the Dundalk Municipal area.
In addition to 14 homes purchased via Compulsory Purchase Order, the local authority aim to have a large chunk of these homes brought up to standard for live social housing stock with the funding available.
What is a ‘void’ and what is a ‘CPO’?
The funding available to the local authority is split into three categories – Standard Refurbishment with a maximum outlay of €12,500 per unit which will see houses re-let to persons or families on the social housing list this year, Homeless Refurbishment targeted towards long-term homeless households, capped at €20,000 and Long-Term Vacant Refurbishment, where the local authority will target long-term vacant units (greater than 12 months) which require extensive works.
There will be no upper limit set and individual submissions will be assessed on a case by case basis.
A further 30 properties have been used by the council as temporary accommodation for isolation or to cater for homeless persons during the Covid-19 pandemic over the last five months. These properties are also classed as vacant.