Minister O’Brien launches new Vacant Homes Action Plan and details of new €150 million URDF vacancy fund
Published on: 30 January 2023
Action Plan outlines Government measures being introduced to address vacancy
Third round of funding support under Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) offering funding to local authorities for projects to activate vacant properties and derelict sites
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, today published a new Vacant Homes Action Plan and launched a new €150 million fund for local authorities to tackle vacancy and dereliction to support the plan. The fund and plan build on ongoing work to tackle vacancy and dereliction and bringing vacant properties into re-use for housing. He launched the plan at the City Library Project at Parnell Square, Dublin.
Today, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage also commenced a six-week multi-channel advertising campaign highlighting the supports available to people to buy, lease or sell vacant property, or convert vacant commercial property into homes.
The Vacant Homes Action Plan outlines progress in implementing actions relating to vacancy and efficient use of existing stock contained in Housing for All, the Government’s housing plan to 2030. Among the measures in the plan are:
• A €150 million URDF fund for vacancy related projects: A call for proposals from local authorities for funding to acquire a vacant or derelict property or site (residential or commercial) and associated works that may be required to de-risk or improve the site so that it is more attractive for re-use or sale. The fund will then be replenished from the proceeds received from sale or use of a site, thereby allowing a local authority establish a rolling programme to tackle long-term vacancy and dereliction without borrowing or the associated financial risk. This fund is being launched today. Housing for All committed to incorporating activation of vacant properties as key criteria in the URDF.
• Guidance on Compulsory Purchase Orders by local authorities, with an initial focus on derelict properties
• Rollout of a data collection project across all local authorities to capture the number of vacant and derelict properties
• Continuing support and development of the full-time role of the Vacant Homes Officer across local authorities.
Launching the Vacant Homes Action Plan and new URDF call for proposals today, Minister O’Brien said:
“The most efficient home to deliver is one that already exists. I want vacant properties in cities, towns and villages across the country to become homes – giving people the opportunity to live and participate in their local communities. The Vacant Homes Action Plan I launched today outlines the real progress the Government is making in addressing vacancy and details the upcoming measures that will bring even more vacant properties back into use. The new €150 million URDF call for proposals will help local authorities transform vacant and derelict buildings and sites in order to revitalise and regenerate our cities and large towns, and deliver more housing.
“I am delighted to be launching this plan and new call for regeneration proposals at the City Library Project at Parnell Square. This renovation project is a perfect illustration of the benefits to local communities when vacant and derelict sites are brought back into use.”
Minister of State with responsibility for Planning and Local Government, Kieran O’Donnell TD, added:
“Our department has begun a new six-week advertising campaign on supports for converting vacant property into homes. A range of supports exist for people who want to sell, lease or buy a vacant property. People can also convert certain vacant commercial properties into up to nine residential units without planning permission. I would encourage people visit gov.ie/vacancy to read more.”
Minister of State with responsibility for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan concluded,
“Bringing vacant homes back to life means sustainable communities and a better environment in which they can prosper. This €150M euro fund will support local authorities all across the country to breathe new life into their towns and cities and make them even better places in which to live, work, visit and invest.”