Vacanthomes.ie, the web portal set up by Mayo County Council on behalf of the local government sector, is helping to provide much needed accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.
In recent times, with the help of local authorities and the general public, thousands of vacant homes across the country have been linked to the vacanthomes.ie website.
This information, which includes building type, address including Eircode, building condition and how long the property has been vacant, can be used to map areas where vacant housing exists.
Successful mapping of these vacant homes will provide a comprehensive map of vacant homes nationwide.
This will also map the work being done to determine the capacity not only of these dwellings, but also in terms of education, social protection, community and health care that currently exist in the locality.
This work is essential in order to determine how soon the property can be brought back into use and the areas where the bringing back into use of vacant units can prove most beneficial.
At a time of housing crisis, where demand for housing exceeds supply, the need to get vacant homes back into service has never been greater.
According to the last census, there were 183,312 dwellings classified as vacant across the country.
Additionally, there are 62,148 vacant vacation homes nationwide.
In the last quarter of 2021, the Geo Directory database indicated that there were 112,000 vacant or derelict properties in Ireland.
It also highlighted the low levels of advertised long-term rental housing in the state.
According to property website Daft.ie, there are just over 1,000 rental properties in Ireland.
Tom Gilligan, Mayo County Council Services Manager, said: “Recommissioning vacant accommodation, particularly holiday homes, could be a viable solution to help provide much needed accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.
“Unoccupied vacant homes could help tackle our current housing crisis and help reduce homelessness and waiting lists for local authority housing.
“I’m not saying vacant homes are a panacea, but it will help, and it’s a very effective and efficient way to utilize our existing housing stock.
“It’s so important that when people come across a vacant house in their locality, they register it, including the appropriate Eircode.
“We know that local people have the local knowledge and that knowledge could be the key that unlocks the door to a vacant home and transforms a family’s life forever.”
The vast majority of properties listed on the vacanthomes.ie portal to date are in the provinces of Munster and Leinster, where housing demand is most acute.
The latest statistics indicate that there are nearly 7,000 properties connected to the vacant homes website.