9 November 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Sinn Féin General Election candidate in Cork North Central Cllr Thomas Gould has described as “disgraceful” that 424 social housing units are lying idle in Cork City in a time of crisis when over 8,000 households are on waiting lists for such housing.
Councillor was responding to new figures published in the media today.
Cllr Gould said;
“It is disgraceful that there are 424 social housing units lying vacant in Cork City today while over 8,000 families are crying out for affordable accommodation.
“There is a larger number of social housing currently idle throughout the state than the amount the government intends to build next year.
“The average cost of refurbishment of a social housing units is €18,039 according to the Department of Environment. The average cost of building a new social housing unit is over 170,000 euro. Refurbishment should be prioritised creating jobs and bringing homes back into us.
“Some local authorities are finding it difficult to draw down funding from central government. This is another barrier to getting families off waiting lists and into homes. It must be dealt with a progressive and pro-active manner.
“We have 15 houses a month coming back to Cork City Council but we do not have the resources required to get them refurbished and back into circulation
“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.
“We must also look at the refurbishment cap of €30,000. It is madness that a home which requires a few thousand more to refurbish would be discarded from consideration and not be brought back online. A lot of Cork City Council’s social housing stock on the northside is very old, so a €30,000 limit is not adequate.
“We need to start refurbishing vacant housing units today. There can be no excuse for units lying empty, in a state of despair, while housing waiting lists are so frighteningly high and more families become homeless every month.”