Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Mid-West and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness, John Curran has hit out at the Government’s ongoing failure to meet its own targets set under the Repair and Lease Scheme.
The Repair and Lease scheme is designed to target vacant private properties in need of renovation capable of being rented for social housing or to those in receipt of housing assistance payments (HAP) in a bid to increase the number of housing units available.
Figures obtained by the Deputy this week reveal that 102 units have been deemed suitable for social housing since March, however, just 8 of those have reached a stage of agreement to lease despite the Government committing to implement 800 by year end. Only 7 of these are in the country’s capital.
Commenting on the figures Deputy Curran said, “Back when the Government’s plan, Rebuilding Ireland was launched, then Minister Simon Coveney committed to a target of bringing 800 vacant units back into the market by 2017 and 1,600 by the year 2020.
“It is already wholly apparent that these are impossible targets given the current rate of slow pace.
“It is estimated that while in the midst of the current housing and homelessness crisis, there is somewhere in the region of 200,000 vacant properties nationwide and over 40,000 in greater Dublin alone.
“An agreement to lease has been signed in the case of 8 units across the entire country while only 7 have been identified as suitable in the Dublin region. It is difficult to envisage even these units being ready for tenanting at any stage soon.
“Not a single unit has been earmarked in South Dublin or Dún Laoghaire Rathdown. Furthermore, none have been identified as part of the Repair and Lease Scheme in Fingal, the fastest growing county in the country.
“The reality of this scenario is that even if the Government made urgent moves to process the remaining 295 applications that have been submitted and they are all found to be suitable, the original target of 800 will still not be met.
“It is clear from these figures alone that property owners are not incentivised to bring vacant houses back in use at a faster pace to increase the housing capacity in our Capital.
“The demand on housing remains one of the greatest challenges to our State and we must work closely with the four Dublin local authorities to achieve a solution to this housing crisis once and for all, “concluded Curran.