Over 600 expressions of interest to Mayo affordable housing survey

OVER 600 people have expressed an interest in availing of affordable housing should a scheme become available in Mayo.

They have responded to a survey being run by Mayo County Council to understand the demand for affordable housing, including locations of choice and the affordability constraints of potential applicants.

The survey is open until May 31. Details are available here: https://www.mayo.ie/Housing/AffordableHousing.

The demand was revealed the same week as it was reported that no affordable housing will be available in the county over the next five years, with the council excluded from the national affordable housing five-year delivery targets despite the problems that exist.

"This is extremely serious," Councillor Michael Kilcoyne told the monthly meeting of Mayo County Council where he asked how the chief executive proposes to deal with the large scale homelessness that is going to affect the county as rents continue to rise.

People earning more than €25,000 can't get a social house and they also cannot get a mortgage to buy, he pointed out.

And even if they were allocated 50 affordable homes each year, with 600 on a list it would take 12 years to get through those alone.

Councillor Mark Duffy said it was depressing to see the lack of ambition for affordable housing in Mayo.

It is a national issue and young people can see no future in Ireland with the cost of living.

They had demand to attract people back to the county but there was no accommodation.

The focus when it comes to housing, commented Councillor Gerry Coyle, should be on putting a roof over people's heads rather than retrofitting.

It was 'disappointing' to have no affordable scheme in the county, said Councillor Donna Sheridan, with rents and building costs going through the roof.

She asked if there was any opportunity for serviced sites that they could sell so young people across the county could build their own homes.

Director of services Tom Gilligan said the council was given a target of building 730 social houses under Housing for All, between 2022 and '26, but intended to deliver 1,004. The target this year is 90 homes.

The affordability survey has received more than 600 responses, with a few weeks left to run.

There are areas in the county where there are affordability constraints and a report is being compiled to bring before the department, said Mr. Gilligan, to make the case for Mayo to be included.

Airbnb is a problem, Mr. Gilligan also told the meeting, excluding properties from medium to long-term rent.

However, Councillor Christy Hyland said the situation is that many people are renting out a room at the weekend to pay their mortgage or put children through college. It wasn't about big landlords but ordinary people.

On serviced sites, chief executive Kevin Kelly said the council needs to buy land to deliver housing and steps will be taken on this in the near future.

A big issue, he said, is that no private construction is taking place.


The Department of Housing has confirmed to the council that while local authorities have localised affordability challenges in key towns, such as may exist in Mayo, they can still apply to the department for funding to develop affordable housing schemes ‘where they can demonstrate that an affordable scheme is needed to address those localised affordability challenges and they can meet the criteria for the Affordable Housing Fund’.

A spokesperson revealed: "Engagement is ongoing with Mayo County Council regarding the potential for development of an affordable housing scheme in Mayo.

"A pathfinder programme will be initiated later this year, to facilitate the making available of some 2,000 sites for homes by 2025."