Councillor Joanna Byrne.
Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has welcomed funding of €847,865 under the July stimulus package to help Louth County Council bring void housing back into stock.
Councillor Byrne has consistently condemned the number of ‘voids’ or empty houses in the County while at the same time people languish for up to nine or ten 10 years on the housing list. In May 2019, Cllr Byrne tabled a motion demanding additional funding for the immediate restoration of all the long-term voids in the County but it fell on deaf ears.
“I am really pleased to see this funding released to Louth and for it to be dedicated to this particular plight” Cllr Byrne said. “The turnaround of these properties will mean families will be able to have their forever homes.
"Louth has 84 voids throughout the County that need to be brought back into use and successfully allocated to 84 families in desperate need of permanent, secure housing.
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“Although this amount of funding is a far cry from what is needed, I do think it is a welcome announcement and I look forward to seeing many of these vacant properties turned around into sustainable homes for our constituents.”
Cllr Byrne advises that the funding will be split into three categories:
This is a fast-tracked standard refurbishment programme with a maximum funding level of €12,500 per unit. These will be social housing units that will be refurbished and re-let to individuals and families on the social housing list this year.
Under the homeless category, the Department will be seeking proposals for the refurbishment of local authority housing targeted towards long-term homeless households. The maximum funding provision is €20,000 per unit to cover extra works/supports as required. These will be refurbished and re-let to house long-term homeless individuals and families.
Under this category the Department is seeking proposals for the refurbishment of local authority housing targeted at long-term vacant units (greater than 12 months) which require extensive works. There will be no upper limit set and individual submissions will be assessed on a case by case basis.
Cllr Byrne said "Louth County Council has very successfully re-opened an amount of voids throughout Covid-19 to facilitate additional homeless need and distancing / isolation needs. This has set the bar now for what can be done. All three categories here are applicable to issues in Louth and I will be urging the Director of Services for Housing, Paddy Donnelly, to pursue all three avenues for funding.”
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