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Tuesday, 14th November 2023

Cllr Joanna Byrne demands action from council on housing transfers

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Councillor Joanna Byrne.

With 289 people in County Louth languishing on the local authority’s housing transfer list, some of them for many years, Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has once again asked the Housing Department of Louth County Council to make these a focus. 

With only a small number of transfers being facilitated each year, Cllr Byrne has asked for an increased target number of transfers to be identified and facilitated coming into the new year. 

“Whether it’s due to overcrowding, medical needs or serious and urgent personal circumstances, to successfully come through the Council’s stringent assessment and be approved onto the Local Authority’s Housing Transfer list, you have be in a genuine situation of need.

“Once identified, it is unacceptable that these people are left languishing for several years with no sign as to when they might be transferred to adequate alternative housing.” 

Cllr Byrne repeated her previous calls from 2020 for an online system to be explored similar to the HomeSwapper.ie initiative.

“The very fact we do all our regular allocations through the Choice Based Lettings System online, which has decreased the refusal rate tenfold, I cannot understand the Council’s reluctance to explore something similar for Transfers” Cllr. Byrne said.

“When I requested you to initiate Homeswapper.ie back in 2020, I understand it was only a pilot scheme in Cork and Dublin City Councils but surely you can now liaise with your counterparts in these local authorities and do a scoping exercise as to whether these systems are proving successful” she told the Council at Monday’s meeting.

“An online system like this would allow tenants to register their details, size of property, area of interest and then the system does the work and matches the tenants. Once the initial investment is made, all the local authority has to do is oversee the finalisation of the transfer as they would do normally.

"It will inevitably take the pressure off the housing department and offer some hope to those left despaired in inadequate living circumstances for years" she said.

“We need to go into the New Year offering transfer applicants some realistic expectations and light at the end of the tunnel instead of leaving them hanging in limbo indefinitely.”

Ger Murphy, Director of Services for Housing whilst defending his teams work on delivering Transfers as quickly as is feasible, noted Cllr Byrne’s concerns and committed to liaising with colleagues in Cork and Dublin City Councils and to compile a report back to the Councillor on an online system.

Cllr Byrne said “this has the potential to relieve the burden for all involved regarding Housing Transfers in the County.”

 

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