Louth County Council in possession of 56 vacant housing units
The number of vacant housing units owned by Louth County Council in 2017 is 56, according to a Freedom of Information Request submitted to the Council, by Fianna Fáil TD Declan Breathnach.
He was also informed by Louth County Council that it takes approximately 18 weeks to return a vacant social housing unit back into use.
“Louth has the highest amount of homeless people per capita in the East / North East region outside of Dublin. Louth has a population of 128,884 with 122 people homeless as opposed to next highest Kildare's population of 222,130, with 141 people homeless” said Deputy Breathnach.
The Deputy believes that a new bill being put forward by Fianna Fáil, the “Vacant Housing Refurbishment Bill 2017” will help alleviate the problem.
“This bill is a practical, common sense and constructive measure that forms part of Fianna Fáil’s determined focus on providing workable solutions to the Housing Crisis.
"The radical increase in the supply of homes for the thousands of families that require them needs constant crisis management by Government”, he said.
Deputy Breathnach says he has also established that in Dundalk there are well over 200 second and third floor units that could be refurbished for housing.
“This bill will in essence allow a one-stop-shop to be established which will process all these applications in a timely and coordinated manner.
"We can reduce a planning application system that can last months and drain the money, energy and determination that is needed if we are to get on top of this crisis to two weeks.”
“The incentive to property owners is obvious. Within two weeks each property owner or their builder/architect will have secured all the permissions they need in order to convert these units into homes.
"That is a real incentive to those property owners to be pro-active in getting the full potential of their properties particularly in urban areas but also in towns and villages.
"I urge all owners who have vacant units or upper floor units suitable for conversion to look into this.” concluded Breathnach.