For Oral Answer on : 11/11/2021
Question Number(s): 26 Question Reference(s): 54984/21
Department: Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage further to Parliamentary Question No. 154 of 28 September 2021, when he expects all vacant homes officer positions in local authorities to be filled on a full-time basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Since 2018, my Department has provided funding to each local authority of €50,000 per annum to support the work of a Vacant Homes Office including a Vacant Homes Officer. All local authorities have such officers in place, but the data indicates that the majority of these are currently on a part-time basis.
In the context of Housing for All, a range of actions are set out to tackle vacancy in the existing housing stock. This will include the launch of the town centre first policy before the end of the year, which will have a particular focus on tackling vacancy and dereliction and supporting the regeneration of town centres. This will be aided by a number of schemes to support the tackling of vacancy, building and enhancing the current schemes for Buy and Renew and Repair and Lease and introducing a Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund and a scheme to CPO properties to ensure their use for residential purposes.
In this context, Housing for All commits to ensuring that vacant homes officers who will play a key role in implementing these programmes are full-time officers. This will ensure a dedicated focus on tackling vacancy and dereliction with a view to increasing the opportunities for residential development. This will include options for social housing and for affordable housing in many town centres.
My Department will be communicating with local authorities before the end of the year around the future process to ensure that a member of staff is assigned to these tasks on a full-time basis.