While St. Patrick is celebrated for driving the snakes out of Ireland, he might have been perplexed at fixing the nation’s current housing crisis: driving people into empty residences.
According to a report from the Irish news site TheJournal.ie
, there are 198,358 homes lying empty in Ireland, or 13 percent of the nation’s total housing stock. A new research report by the Simon Community, an Irish homeless service, noted the wild imbalance between vacant residences and people forced to live in emergency accommodations: in the capital city of Dublin, for example, there are 3,247 people in emergency accommodation but 35,293 empty housing units.
Last month, Ireland’s Housing Minister Simon Coveney announced a pilot program in Waterford and Carlow to identify vacant properties and secure them for social housing. To date, 59 formerly vacant properties are being processed to accommodate those in need of housing.
“Property owners see the opportunity the scheme presents for them—upfront financing of the cost of repairs—in fact they need not even get involved in arranging the works, and a secure and reliable income from regular rental payments, without having to take on landlord responsibilities,” said Coveney.