141 vacant housing units in Limerick – yet refurbishment funding cut by €530,469

Limerick Post - vacant housing units

It is sickening to think that there are a massive number of vacant housing units owned by the Local Authority sitting idle. This is at a time when thousands of people are on the housing list in Limerick and emergency homeless shelters are running out of space to accommodate the escalating crisis.
Minister Alan Kelly is continually trying to reassure the public that he has a plan for dealing with the housing crisis. However the huge number of vacant housing units across the country shows that no such joined up plan exists. The Minister is out of touch with the public considering his lacklustre response to the housing crisis to date. His lack of action is inexcusable.
Minister Kelly has told us repeatedly over the last year that his department has been meeting housing needs by providing funding to local authorities for the purposes of refurbishing vacant housing units that they already own, rather than financing new social housing construction. However the figures we have obtained rubbish Minister Kelly’s claim that local authorities are meeting local housing needs.
The Minister’s bluff has been called following the publication of these figures. His plan for tackling the housing crisis is not working and it is time he admitted this. The figures we obtained show that, as of August, there are 141 vacant units across the city and county, not counting those earmarked for demolition.
These figures make it apparent just how completely inadequate the refurbishment funding allocated to local authorities has been. While there are 141 housing units lying vacant, the Minister made the disastrous decision to cut refurbishment funding available to local authorities. The cut to Limerick City and County Council amounted to €530,469 this year alone.
It is utterly senseless to have so many properties lying vacant while spending such enormous funds fire-fighting the crisis through the provision of emergency homeless accommodation. This money could instead be used much more productively to provide long term homes for these families by refurbishing the vacant units already in the ownership of local authorities.

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