Fianna Fáil TD in Dublin Mid-West and Chair of the Committee for Housing and Homelessness, John Curran has said every effort must be made to ensure idle properties are brought back into the market.

The Repair and Lease scheme is designed to make vacant private properties in need of renovation capable of being rented for social housing or to those in receipt of housing assistance payments (HAP).

“From my work as Chair of the Committee for Housing and Homelessness it became apparent that when there are so many critically in need of housing, the number of vacant properties could make a significant impact on alleviating the current high demand,” explained the Deputy.

“It only makes sense that measures are introduced to get vacant properties that are laying empty at the moment, back into the system and put long-term leases in place to provide extra social housing nationwide.

“Initially, €6 million in funding was allocated to refurbish 150 properties in 2017, yet there is somewhere in the region of 200,000 vacant properties nationally and upwards of 40,000 in the greater Dublin area.

“The Repair and Leasing Scheme is a quick solution but should only operate in parallel with the construction of new builds. The development of new homes alone will not meet the present and increasing demand on housing. We must therefore prioritise and expand the scheme refurbishment in order to bring additional properties back into use quickly.

“The Minister has informed me in the Dáil that new targets set to increase the number of social houses more quickly by getting vacant properties back into the system, will be announced in the next week or so. A new target will require an increase in spend, and I hope that all additional resources necessary are allocated to house any homeless person or family in need of State support.

“Today’s figures are shameful and at this critical stage we must not lose momentum towards achieving a long-term solution to this housing crisis, once and for all.