Thursday, 11 April 2019

Ceisteanna (226)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

226. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of vacant housing officers by local authority. [17131/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In August 2017, I requested all local authorities to designate vacant home officers to co-ordinate local actions to address vacancy in their functional areas and also to undertake local vacancy surveys in order to identify - through their Vacant Homes Action Plans - priority "vacancy hot-spot areas" and properties that can be quickly brought back into residential use.

Each local authority has designated a Vacant Homes Officer and I have also provided funding for each local authority (€50,000 per annum, for a period of two years (i.e. a total of €100,000 to each local authority for 2018 & 2019)) to support the work of a Vacant Homes Office. The provision of central funding will allow for focus to be given to the role of the Office in establishing a co-ordinated approach towards the implementation of their Vacant Homes Action Plans and will reinforce the capacity of the Department’s Vacant Homes Unit to liaise with and seek information/statistics from a dedicated contact point within each local authority. The Vacant Homes Office is expected to play a key role in the co-ordination of this work within the local authority.

The Vacant Homes Unit in my Department facilitated a seminar (in October 2018) to allow the network of Vacant Homes Officers meet with relevant Department Officials, ensuring that information on reactivating vacant homes into the liveable housing stock is made available to both the Department and to all Vacant Homes Officers.

Vacant Homes Officers met with the Department only yesterday at a seminar to launch the Bringing Back Homes Manual for the Reuse of Existing Buildings, another commitment under Pillar 5 of Rebuilding Ireland in respect of the optimum utilisation of our existing housing stock.