THE number of people on the waiting list for houses in Cork is 7,356. But despite the high demand, some refusals are adding to the delay in reducing the backlog.
A recent meeting of the Western Committee of Cork County Council heard that the local authority has the longest turnaround time for its houses – 66 weeks between tenancies.
During a presentation of a housing services report at the meeting, it was pointed out that Cork County Council also has a high rate of people refusing local authority houses.
Its current refusal rate is 43%, with the Council’s director of housing, Mary Ryan, confirming that just five out of 15 people took up occupancy of houses that were recently renovated.
Some of the reasons for refusing the houses were that they were not big enough, or that the gardens were too small, but there were spurious reasons too – such as one woman who said a harbour view would make her feel seasick.
The director of services said it is hoped that a new Choice Based Letting (CBL) scheme would speed up the process by allowing qualified social housing support applicants to express an interest in a property.
During the meeting, it was confirmed that 229 voids were refurbished last year – a figure that indicates the local authority is 20% ahead of target, with another 70 scheduled to be completed at a cost of €1.37m before the year’s end.
Of the 22 local authorities in Ireland, Cork County Council has the distinction of having achieved 13.5% of the total uptake of the Housing Assistance Payment or HAP programme.
The Council is also working with its architectural team to clean up and sell several serviced sites throughout the County. It has invested €1.2m in energy efficiency works in local authority houses and has plans to spend €2m more on similar works in 2016. And it is in the processing of writing to all of its existing tenants outlining details of the new Tenant Purchase Scheme.
Meanwhile, Beechgrove in Clonakilty and Kilngleary in Carrigaline are poised for an €8.7m and €9.8m housing construction investment, which will involve the building of 56 and 40 new houses respectively.