Preliminary results from Census 2016 show that there are 198,358 empty homes in Ireland (excluding holiday homes), which is just under 10% of Ireland’s entire housing stock. In Dublin alone, there are over 35,000 empty homes. That means, 7 empty homes for every homeless individual in Dublin.
There is no reasonable justification for so many homes to be empty at any time. It is all the more difficult to accept when Ireland is in the midst of a major housing and homeless emergency.
Peter McVerry Trust is now campaigning to get Government and Local Authorities to take action to reduce the number of empty private homes in Ireland.
Peter McVerry Trust is asking the Government to introduce the following measures:
Introduce a vacant homes levy that would apply to any non-principal dwelling houses that have been vacant for a period of 1 year or more.
Funds raised from the levy would be ring-fenced for the provision of social and affordable housing and would go towards the financing of a compulsory purchase programme.
Establish a new national database to track the status of all housing stock in public and private ownership. Such a system would allow the Government to understand, analyse and assertively manage down rates of vacancy and dereliction. It would also provide for the opportunity to set targets for each local authority to reduce the number of vacant buildings in their area.
The State must implement a major scheme of compulsory purchases orders to bring derelict sites and homes in private ownership into the housing system. Local Authorities and State Agencies must be properly resourced, in terms of finance and specialist staff, to carry out such a programme efficiently and quickly.
Our aim is to ensure that the housing system provides for all types and forms of accommodation needs.