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Over 10,000 vacant homes brought back to use since 2020

10,820 vacant homes have been brought back into use since 2020, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said.

He said that in 2023, about 2,500 social homes were brought back into use.

However, that number is fewer than in 2020, when the figure was over 3,600 and the amount of money that is being spent on bringing vacant homes back has also gone down over that period.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News At One, he said: “Effectively I’ve given funding of over €160 million to help to bring these homes back into use to get them reallocated out to individuals and families.

“Then there is the other piece of work which is insuring actually that we are managing our stock better and I am very pleased to see that has been happening over the last couple of years.”

Asked if progress was slowing, Minister O’Brien said: “In 2020, we were coming out of the first round of Covid and we had an additional investment in housing.

“We were constrained with new builds, we focussed a lot of additional capital in seeing what else we could bring back in, so when you look at the numbers and the investment in 2020, the reason that was more, is actually we had the Covid stimulus package, so I got additional funding, particularly to make up some lost ground in new housing delivery in that year because of the construction shutdown.”

He said older houses that were vacant for many years are now back in stock and there is now a focus on maintaining properties better so they do not have to be vacant for as long as they were before.

According to figures last week, there are 13,318 people in emergency accommodation.

Asked if the scheme is working for those families, Minister O’Brien said they are his priority and in December there was a slight decrease in numbers.

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