25 January 2021
By Elaine Murphy
€56.4m spent to bring 3,607 vacant homes back into social housing stock across the country
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, has greatly welcomed the fact that the 2020 Voids Stimulus Programme has exceeded targets with 2,565 social homes refurbished and brought back into use across the country.
Minister O’Brien thanked Cork City Council for their work in refurbishing and re-letting 340 homes and Cork County Council for refurbishing 189 homes.
Overall in 2020, €56.4m was spent to bring a total of 3,607 vacant homes back into productive use within the social housing stock. This represents the highest ever yearly spend and the highest number of homes to be refurbished under the voids programme.
Specifically, as part of the Stimulus Programme announced in July 2020 Minister O’Brien allocated over €40 million for the refurbishment of 2,500 vacant social homes. By the end of 2020 1,925 were occupied with a further 640 tenancies accepted. Importantly, 297 of the refurbished homes were reserved for tenancies for homeless households at a cost of €5.2m.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “The shutdown in construction activity in the first half of last year has had a big impact on our delivery of new build social housing. The Government decided as part of the July Stimulus to make up for lost ground by allocating €40m for the refurbishment of social housing stock which was otherwise vacant.
“I asked Local Authorities to ensure that all homes were refurbished and at the very least allocated by the end of the year. Cork City and County Council responded with great enthusiasm and their speedy uptake in the scheme is to be highly commended.
“Over the course of the year 3,607 vacant social homes have been brought back into use, 2,565 of those in just six months. They have been refurbished and allocated to those on the social housing list and those experiencing homelessness.
“There was also an added economic benefit with further employment generated for local Cork builders, carpenters, painters, plumbers, electricians and so on,” he concluded.