Monday, February 22, 2021

Almost three dozen vacant homes in Carlow have been returned to use in recent years.

32 vacant properties have been returned as part of the national ‘Vacant Housing Reuse Strategy’ which was published in 2018.

The figures were released recently in the Dáil and 24 of these homes have been provided under the Buy and Renew initiative allows local authorities to purchase private vacant properties for use as social housing.

Six homes have been provided under the Housing Acquisitions Fund that was first established in January 2017 with the objective of enabling the Housing Agency to acquire vacant units from banks and investment companies for social housing use. The fund is replenished by the Housing Agency through the sale of units primarily to the Approved Housing Body sector and the funds received are then recycled back into the fund for future acquisitions.

Two homes in Carlow have been provided under the the Repair and Leasing Scheme. The scheme targets vacant properties who cannot afford or access the funding needed to bring their properties up to the required standard for rental properties. The scheme provides upfront funding to carry out the works and, in return, the property owner agrees to lease the dwelling to the local authority to be used as social housing for a period up to 25 years. The maximum loan for property repair available under the Repair and Leases scheme has been increased by my Department from €40,000 to €60,000.

There has also been a focus in recent years of gathering information about vacancy nationally. A website has been developed by Mayo County Council (vacanthomes.ie) on behalf of the local government sector. This provides a central portal for individuals to anonymously log possible vacant properties and alert local authorities who can then follow up with the owners to see whether the house can be re-used quickly. 23 houses in Carlow have been recorded on the website.

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