Fears that social housing shortage could cause worsening crisis in 2018

Fears that social housing shortage could cause worsening crisis in 2018
Apartments under construction as part of the Knocknaheeny regeneration.Pic: Larry Cummins

A city councillor has warned that there could be no social housing available in Cork within three months as the current stock is running low and new houses will not be available for at least another year.

Sinn Fein Councillor Thomas Gould said there will be virtually no social housing left by March and this will lead to huge increases in the housing list.

“Cork City Council allocated 19 houses in November, but there were 77 new individuals added to the list in that month," he said.

Cllr Thomas Gould has warned that new applicants are exceeding the number of houses becoming available every month.
Cllr Thomas Gould has warned that new applicants are exceeding the number of houses becoming available every month.

Mr Gould urged the council to take a harder, more aggressive line on Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO’s).

“There are 94 properties on the derelict list at the moment. These are buildings that landlords have let fall into wrack and ruin. They could be turned into apartments and other housing units for people who need them.

“The Council has the power to CPO these buildings and I think the minute these buildings are on the derelict list, we should CPO it."

Cork City Council rejected Mr Gould's claims, saying there will be a consistent supply of new social housing stock through construction, acquisition of vacant housing units, social leasing and units delivered in partnership with approved housing bodies throughout 2018.

Yesterday, the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy confirmed that funding has been approved for more than 130 new homes in Cork with construction to begin early next year after the cabinet signed off on €39m in funding for seven different projects.

The largest of the seven developments is at White Street where 43 new units will be built. Barrack Street will see the construction of 32 units while 25 new homes will be built on Blarney Street.

Wood Street (16 units), High street (nine units), Farranree (five units) and Tramore Road (four units) make up the remainder.

The construction start date for the 134 homes is early 2018.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy confirmed funding for seven social housing developments.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy confirmed funding for seven social housing developments.

The Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy confirmed the seven new developments saying they were on top of four other developments previously approved by his department.

Those four have already begun construction, delivering 85 homes at a cost of just under €22m.

The first of these homes will be completed towards the end of next year, with the remainder following in 2019.

Senator Colm Burke had raised the raised the issue of the seven Cork projects with Mr Murphy and welcomed the response that funding was approved.

"This is significant funding for these seven projects which will deliver a further 134 much needed social housing for families on the Cork City housing list, and particularly for the South Parish Area and will represent a very important development for Cork".

"The delivery of these proposed projects will represent a very important development for Cork City and particularly for the South Parish Area," the Minister said.

"The objective of the Cork City Regeneration project is to help create neighbourhoods of distinct character, with better permeability and coherency and to offer significant opportunities for an improved social mix and with the potential for the inclusion of private housing development within the area.

These projects will deliver on these objectives, enhancing the physical characteristics of the local areas involved and contributing also to the wider social regeneration.

“That is four more per house.” 

Mr Gould made the point that there are 148 houses under repair and 40 vacant houses, but other than that the stock is depleted.

“We had 600 houses in 2009, but we did not replenish that stock over the past eight years and now we are suffering.” 

Mr Gould said there were roughly 15 properties returned at the end of the month but that is all that the council will have to offer after March.

“I don’t blame Cork City Council, they do not have the funding. They are trying to play catch up on 8 years of no social housing. They are catching up on the voids.”

Mr Gould urged the council to take a harder, more aggressive line on Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO’s).

“There are 94 properties on the derelict list at the moment. These are buildings that landlords have let fall into wreak and ruin. They could be turned into apartments and other housing units for people who need them.

Mr Gould said he thought there were 100’s of buildings and houses around the city that should be added to the list.

“In my opinion, if the landlords do not turn it around straight away, the Council should CPO it, repair them and get them out.” 

Mr Gould said there are 100’s of buildings that need to be on the list, but the problem is the council do not have the resources to process the paperwork involved in a CPO.

“I personally don’t believe the council have the staff to take on this task. The issue is resources and manpower and we need to address that.” 

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