Mayo web portal is working to provide accommodation for Ukrainian refugees
Vacanthomes.ie, the web portal established by Mayo County Council on behalf of the local government sector, is assisting in providing much-needed accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.
Over recent times, with the assistance of local authorities and the general public, thousands of vacant homes right across the country have been logged on to the vacanthomes.ie website.
This information, which comprises the building type, the address including the Eircode, the condition of the building and how long the property is vacant, can be used in order to map the areas where vacant homes exist.
The successful mapping of these vacant homes will provide a comprehensive map of vacant homes right across the country.
It will also allow for mapping work which is being undertaken to determine the capacity not only of this accommodation but also in terms of education, social welfare, community and healthcare supports that currently exist within the locale.
This work is vital in order to determine how soon the property can be brought back into use and areas where the bringing back of vacant homes into use can prove most beneficial.
At a time of a housing crisis, where demand for housing is exceeding supply, the need for bringing vacant homes back into use has never been greater.
According to the last Census there were 183,312 housing stock classified as vacant right across the country.
In addition, there are 62,148 vacant holiday homes nationally.
In the last quarter of 2021, the Geo Directory database indicated that there were 112,000 vacant or derelict properties in Ireland.
It has also highlighted the low levels of long-term rental accommodation being advertised in the State.
According to the property website Daft.ie, there are just over 1,000 properties to rent in Ireland.
Tom Gilligan, director of services with Mayo County Council, stated: “Bringing vacant homes back into use, especially holiday homes, could be a viable solution to help provide much needed accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.
"Unoccupied vacant homes could help deal with our current housing crisis and help reduce homelessness and local authority housing waiting lists.
"I’m not saying that vacant homes are a panacea, but it will help, and it is a very effective and efficient way of utilising our existing housing stock.
"It’s so important that when people come across a vacant home in their locality that they record it, including the appropriate Eircode.
"We know that local people have the local knowledge and this knowledge could be the key that unlocks the door to a vacant home and transform a family’s life forever.”
The vast majority of properties logged to date on the vacanthomes.ie portal are in the provinces of Munster and Leinster, where the demand for housing is most acute.
The latest statistics indicate that there are nearly 7,000 properties logged on to the vacant homes website.