The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, today (Monday 29 January) published figures showing 2,481 vacant social homes were brought back into active use in 2023 under the Voids Programme.
Making more efficient use of existing housing stock is a key action of the Government’s Housing for All plan. The Voids Programme supports local authorities in preparing vacant homes for re-letting and builds on the ongoing work to tackle vacancy and dereliction to bring vacant properties into re-use for housing.
Minister O’Brien said:
“Refurbishment and the return to use of vacant properties helps to reduce pressure on existing housing stock, increase supply, and ultimately, provide much needed homes for people.
“Apart from addressing the need for social housing, the refurbishment of these unoccupied social homes also has a positive impact on communities. It prevents the decline and abandonment of vacant properties, which, in some instances, can lead to antisocial behaviour
“I commend local authorities’ for working with us to bring these homes back into active use in 2023. Their efforts, will make a real difference in the lives of over 2,400 households All local authorities are encouraged to continue to be as proactive as possible in the return of all vacant properties to use through the use of the Voids Funding Programme as well as other programmes such as the Buy & Renew and Repair & Lease Schemes.
“Speed in tackling vacant social housing is also critical to regeneration and improving the vitality and vibrancy of communities in towns and cities across the country. Through this Housing for All action we have now have shifted to a position of planned maintenance of social housing stock to ensure the fastest possible turnaround and re-let times for social housing stock.’’
Of the €46 million recouped to local authorities for the Voids programme in 2023, €3.4m supported the continuation of payments towards planned maintenance and included funding towards stock condition surveys which help to ensure quicker turnarounds for putting existing stock back into use.
Since 2020, the Government has spent over €163 million to return 10,820 homes to active use, this is almost half (46%) of the homes returned over the lifetime of the programme since 2014 (23,315 units).