MORE than one-third of all vacant council houses in Cork city are in the north-west area.
The figures were revealed to members of Cork City Council at a meeting of the housing functional committee last night.
A report from the housing directorate showed that there are 181 vacant council houses under repair in Cork city, as of December 12.
Of these, 61 — 34% — are in what is termed the Churchfield depot, referring to the north-west. A further 50 are in the Glen area, accounting for 28% of the vacancies.
Forty-two are in the ‘south’ area, according to the report, with 28 in the ‘centre’ of the Cork City Council local authority area.
The 181 properties represent approximately 2% of the council’s total social housing stock of 9,034 units.
The vacancy figures refer to those properties which are undergoing repair for re-occupancy and does not include properties which are earmarked for regeneration or demolition or those on legal hold.
Responding to the vacancy figures, Sinn Féin councillor Mick Nugent said that City Hall has done good work to reduce the number of vacancies in the last number of months.
However, he said greater clarity is needed on State funding for future vacancy repair projects.
“There is still a bit of work to do,” said Mr Nugent.
“It is less than 2% but there is a significant number in the north-west of the city, for example.
“Certainly, it seems to have become a bit more of a priority of late and that is to be welcomed but it would still be good to see a bigger dent made as soon as possible.”
A report from the housing director at City Hall said that it is planned to bring the properties back to use as early as possible.
“Funding is available from internal and external sources to bring these properties back into use,” the report stated.
“The return times vary depending on the extent of works to be carried out but I envisage that all properties will be returned in early 2019 for allocation to eligible social housing applicants.”
As of the end of November 2018, there were 3,916 social housing applicants on the waiting list for a home in Cork city.
There has also been 42 refusals of a social housing offer in Cork city in the year to date, 39 of which were due to the offer being ‘deemed unsuitable’.
In the remaining three cases, applicants wanted a larger property.
Officials at City Hall have credited the Choice-Based Letting system, in which applicants can view properties on an online portal before bidding on them, as causing a significant drop in the rate of refusals.