- Additional €450,000 for Housing Voids Programme in Cavan
- Additional €340,000 for Monaghan – Brendan Smith TD
Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has welcomed the decision of the new Housing Minister, Darragh O’Brien, T.D., to allocate an additional €451,290 to Cavan County Council and €342,749 to Monaghan County Council for this year’s Housing Voids Programme.
“Minister O’Brien had secured additional funding in the July Stimulus Package to refurbish social housing stock. I had raised with successive Ministers for Housing the need to have a comprehensive Voids Programme to bring vacant Council houses back to use. It is utterly frustrating to see houses vacant that need small scale improvement works/refurbishment.
Through Parliamentary Questions in Dáil Éireann last week I appealed to the Minister to allocate additional funding and I am glad that he has made this positive decision. This funding is also important in creating much needed work at local level for all our trades people and this work will get underway without delay.
Copy of recent Parliamentary Question attached.
For Oral Answer on : 23/07/2020
Question Number(s): 55 Question Reference(s): 17656/20
Department: Housing, Planning and Local Government
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government if he will allocate additional funding to local authorities such as Cavan and Monaghan for the voids programme in 2020 in view of the financial pressures on local authorities; if he will reduce the local contribution needed for local authorities to draw down this funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The management and maintenance of local authority housing stock, including pre-letting repairs to vacant properties, the implementation of a planned maintenance programme and carrying out of responsive repairs, are matters for each individual local authority under Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966.
Since 2014, Exchequer funding has also been provided through my Department’s Voids Programme to support local authorities in preparing vacant units for re-letting. This funding was initially introduced to tackle long term vacant units and is now increasingly targeted at ensuring minimal turnaround and re-let times for local authority vacant stock. During 2019, expenditure of some €26.6 million was recouped to local authorities under the Voids Programme.
Cavan County Council has received €1.65 million in funding under the Voids Programme from 2014 to 2019, supporting 137 units being returned to use. Monaghan County Council received €1.97 million in funding over the same period supporting 184 units for re-let.
There is a two stage process for allocations under the Voids Programme for 2020. Firstly, on 26 May, there was an initial call for proposals for COVID-19 Voids funding for vacant units which were required for the emergency accommodation of qualified households arising from the need to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the spread of COVID-19. The majority of works approved under this element of the programme are complete. Cavan County Council submitted 8 properties for assessment under the Covid-19 Voids Programme and have received approval for all 8 properties. Monaghan received approval for 6 units. A second call for proposals, under the non-Covid specific voids programme, will issue shortly and any funding submission received from local authorities will be actively considered.
It is important to note that there is no minimum local contribution sought from LAs under the voids programme and capped funding can optimized to cover 100% of the costs incurred.
It is also important that local authorities increasingly move toward a preventative maintenance approach to the management of their housing stock and my Department is working with local authorities to this end.