Over 10,000 contact new empty houses database with vacant property data across Ireland

Over 10,000 people have contacted a new national database aimed at recording and utilising Ireland's stock of vacant houses.

The VacantHomes.ie was launched last month, a digital resource that invites submissions from local communities providing information on the empty properties in their area.

The Mayo County Council initiative then uses the data garnered from these anonymous submissions so that local authorities can get in touch with the owners and determine if the property can be re-used quickly and converted into social housing.

Borne out of the council’s commitment to the Government's vacant housing strategy, the initiative has seen a surge of interest with 1,000 properties countrywide registered to date.

According to Census 2016, 183,312 homes are currently vacant in Ireland, not including 62,148 vacant holiday homes.

Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin has said that there are now 5,187 adults, 1,400 families, and over 3,000 children homeless here.

Tom Gilligan Director of Services, Mayo Co Council has called for Irish citizens to log onto vacanthomes.ie and list any property they think could be utilised to help tackle the housing crisis.

"We want to ensure that vacanthomes.ie is an on-going initiative and a relevant resource for local authorities, aiding them in getting as many of the 183,312 unoccupied properties back in use by the people that need them most," he said.

Some 58pc of properties logged on the new database are located in Leinster,  where demand is highest while other vacant properties were recorded in Munster (23pc), Connaught (15pc) and Ulster (4pc).

The most recorded property type is detached at 34pc, with semi detached accounting for 29pc of the submissions on the database. 

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has repeatedly said that more radical measures need to be taken to stem the flow of people into homelessness and to stimulate the housing market.

Following a housing summit with the heads of the country's local authorities the Government announced a new suite of measures to tackle the housing crisis.

The minister announced that government will offer homeless families from Dublin the chance of a house in rural counties, in a radical bid to ease the current crisis.

Those wishing to move to other parts of the country will be assisted under the first part of this new housing strategy. 'The Place Finder Service' was previously discussed in the Programme for Government talks.

The Housing Minister said an extra 200 extra emergency beds will be delivered for homeless people by December.

He also pledged to build an extra 800 social homes next year bringing the total from 3,000 to 3,800.

A further €10m in funding for more Family Hubs is being ring-fenced, as demand arises from Local Authorities, to be drawn this year.

Minister Simon Harris plans to increase his department's annual social inclusion budget for homelessness to €36m in 2018.

David Kieran