MORE than 13,000 homes in Co Donegal lie empty – with just under 2,000 people needing a home, Sinn Fein said today.
Speaking after the recent release of new figures on vacant housing
published last week in The Roof Over Our Heads which is part of the
CSO series of reports on the findings of Census 2011, Sinn Féin
County Councillor Cora Harvey said: “The report found that despite such a great need for housing in the state no shortage exists. 230,000 homes lie vacant across the state despite the fact that nearly 100,000 people are on housing waiting lists and 5,000 people are homeless.
“The figures for Donegal are shocking. The report shows that of a
total housing stock of almost 84,000 units, over 13,360 residential
units lie vacant. This does not include people temporarily absent or
indeed over 10,000 Holiday homes which also lie vacant for a
considerable period in the year.
“Meanwhile, figures obtained from Donegal County Council show that
just under 2,000 people are confirmed as eligible for Social Housing
Assistance with many more applicants either awaiting a decision on
their application or being refused assistance.
“Cuts to the Budget of the Local Authority means that much of the
upgrading of the Council stock cannot be carried out resulting in
fewer lets which would bring in rental revenue to the Council. Instead
a significant proportion of the Social Welfare budget, over €500
million per year is going straight into the pockets of private
landlords in rent supplement.
“These vacant homes could in many circumstances be used to house
people in the absence of a real investment in a social housing build
but the government has failed to even make a considerable move on
delivering the 2000 units promised from NAMA last year.”
“In the Agenda for the Stranorlar Electoral Area, there are 69 vacant
Local Authority units listed with only 1 unit let and 1 ready for
allocation. This cannot be allowed to continue.
“The government needs to wake up to the crisis in housing and to put
in place a serious strategy to cut waiting lists and provide housing
for those who require it in the most cost effective manner possible.