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More social houses empty than government plan to build – Ellis

9 November, 2015 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has said that there is no excuse for 3000 social housing units lying idle across the state in a time of crisis when over 130,000 households are on waiting lists for such housing.

The Dublin North-West TD was responding to new figures which showed a larger number of social housing units were empty across the state than the government plan to build in 2016.

Deputy Ellis continued:

“That there are 3000 empty units across the state is a disgrace, especially when the government plan to deliver far less than that in 2016 at the height of a housing and homelessness crisis which has 1500 children sleeping in hotels and B&B’s.

“The average cost of refurbishment of a social housing unit is €18,039 according to the Department of Environment. The average cost of building a new social housing unit is over €170,000. Refurbishment should be prioritised creating jobs and bringing homes back into us. Idle units can also be a breeding ground for anti-social behaviour and crime which only makes refurbishment and occupation more valuable as a strategy.

“Some units may cost more than the cap of €30,000 to refurbish. While units which need less work should be prioritised for the fastest delivery of homes, a home which requires a few thousand more for refurbishment should not be off the table either. The idea that you would refuse to spend €40,000 to bring back into use a house which may cost more than double that to build elsewhere in a time of such need goes against all common sense.

“We need to invest in refurbishments now with a view to ensuring while waiting lists are so high, no unit is allowed to lie empty in disrepair. Some councils have said that they are struggling to draw down funding promised by the government and this must also be dealt with.” 

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