City Council to appoint officer to deal with empty homes

An ‘empty homes officer’ will be appointed by Galway City Council to help bring hundreds of vacant homes back into use.

The initiative is one of several measures under consideration by the local authority as it attempts to ease the housing crisis.

The exact number of vacant homes in the city remains a mystery. The latest Census 2016 figures suggest there are up to 3,000 vacant homes in Galway city, and that doesn’t include holiday homes.

However, Geodirectory figures – recorded by An Post workers – differ substantially from the Central Statistics Office data, and suggests there are just 300 vacant homes in the city.

The City Council has embarked on a plan to analyse the data, and to bring vacant homes back into use to increase the supply of houses in the city, where house prices and rents are soaring, and homelessness has reached crisis levels.

Labour’s Niall McNelis welcomed the action plan, which was circulated to city councillors at a Strategic Policy Committee meeting.

The briefing document said: “The vacant homes action plan will identify an accurate level and scale of vacancy in the city and set realistic targets of what vacant homes can ultimately be brought back into use, whether for private sale or rent of for social housing purposes.”
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