LIMERICK City and County Council has been asked to explore ways to help voluntary housing organisations acquire properties that could be rented to people on the local authority waiting lists.
Speaking at this month’s Newcastle West district meeting, Fine Gael councillor Tom Ruddle claimed there are too many regulatory steps for voluntary housing bodies to complete at present before they can bid on properties.
“And the properties are then sold on the private market,” he told the council executive.
Council Director of Service for Housing Caroline Curley explained that the Government’s priority is to deliver 47,600 new build social homes over the next five years.
“Given the focus of support on the build programme and the need to avoid competition, Limerick City and County Council has been requested to limit acquisitions of privately owned properties to specific priority acquisitions such as homeless people and people with a disability, including in circumstances where a valid notice to quit has issued to sitting tenants,” she explained.
The Department of Housing has requested a focus on priority areas including: one-bedroom units to deliver on the Government target and meet the short supply; other properties that allow people to move from homelessness.
“Limited acquisitions by Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) through the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS) will also continue where they are focused on specific vulnerable cohorts, such as housing for older people, accommodation for individuals and families who are homeless and for older people with disability.
“However, the priority remains to focus to the greatest extent possible on the AHBs sector increasing new-build construction delivery under the Capital Assistance Scheme,”Ms Curley added.