PART of the solution to the housing crisis already exists – all that’s needed is imagination, investment and legislation to make it happen.
That’s according to newly-elected FF TD Christopher O’Sullivan who has highlighted the number of vacant buildings and over-the-shop premises available in our towns and villages.
‘This general election campaign brought me and my team to towns and villages throughout West Cork. On some occasions, there was a vacancy rate of over 60%. Many of these houses were in quite good condition and just need a small bit of investment and work to make them perfectly habitable. On the other hand, there are of course over the shop premises which would need a significant amount of work to bring them to a liveable standard.
‘I will be calling on the next government, whoever that may be, to introduce a scheme whereby property owners are incentivised to bring these premises up to standard. If that can be achieved then you increase supply to the private rental market, increase supply to the home buyer’s market and also possibly bring some of these properties into Cork County Council’s social housing supply.’
He acknowledged that stringent building regulations make renovating properties cost prohibitive.
‘I will be seeking to introduce legislation to streamline and ease such work. The added bonus of making these properties habitable is that it would automatically increase footfall in our town and villages. It would increase vibrancy and bring back life to towns and villages in rural Ireland. This type of living is more sustainable and cost effective.’
He was speaking as the Clonakilty family who recently went public with their urgent plea for a house, have found emergency accommodation – but only until March 10th.
Linda Garrett and her four children and two dogs were couldn’t find a house to rent after their home of two years was put up for sale.
Despite exhaustive searches Linda failed to find anything suitable for her family’s needs in the area.
The family are now in a two-bed house in Courtmacsherry in what is termed emergency accommodation and where rent is paid by the Council.
Linda had to make the heartbreaking decision to take their two beloved dogs, Baby and Toffee, to be rehomed with the CSPCA.
‘That was just so horrible, I can’t even begin to describe it,’ she said.
The dogs had made the search for a house more difficult as many landlords don’t accept pets. However, the dogs helped Linda’s daughter Mollie (19) who lives with Asperger’s.
As another daughter, Cassidy, is studying for her Leaving Cert, the family want to stay in the Clonakilty area.
Linda, who also works in Clonakilty, said their current accommodation wasn’t ideal, but they were managing at the moment.
‘I’m waiting to hear back from a few places. It’s good to have some reprieve but I’m worried that March 10th isn’t far away,’ she said.