Peter McVerry Trust, the national housing and homeless charity, has called for an extension to a deadline that applies to a key regulation that allows long-term vacant buildings to be reused as housing. The charity said the regulation, which expires at the end of 2021 and is known as SI30 of 2018, has resulted in an increase in the number of one-bedroom homes it has been able to secure to house people exiting homelessness.
Pat Doyle, the CEO at Peter McVerry Trust, said “We are working hard to deliver as many homes for people in need as we can. We look at every opportunity that comes our way and look at every possible avenue of getting access to new social housing units. For a number of years now we have had lots of success in tackling long-term vacant properties across Ireland. Successfully reusing vacant buildings has lots of benefits, it increases supply, tackles dereliction, revives urban centres and makes sure more one-bedroom homes come on stream.”
Mr Doyle said that because of the existence of SI30 more one-bedroom homes have been delivered in areas where there may not have been any to buy or rent. “If we look right across the country there is a mismatch between housing availability and housing need. The existence of SI30 has played a key role in helping ensure we have access to more one-bedroom homes at a scale which suits the needs of people we work with and does not create any burden on existing communities or streets.”
“Peter McVerry Trust is currently working on SI30 schemes that will see us secure one-bedroom homes on long-term leases for 25 years right across Ireland, from Dublin to Kerry and Wexford to Mayo. These units are vital as we are able to support more single people, who are the largest cohort in homelessness and on the wider social housing list, into their own homes.”
Two Year Extension
“We have now written to Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, to ask that he consider extending the timeframe that SI30 can be applied so that we continue to make progress in tackling vacancy and in delivering more homes for key schemes such as Housing First and CAS for Care. We believe there is ongoing scope to deliver under the regulations and we should ensure it is available for another two years.”
“This will allow for projects delayed as a result of Covid-19 to be delivered and for new opportunities that are coming on stream to be explored and secured by Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies.”