Homeless charity Cork Simon has launched a campaign to identify vacant homes it can buy or lease as part of its response to the housing and homeless crisis.
It is following seven potential leads already after the owners of vacant residential properties came forward following the launch of the campaign at the weekend.
“We have just started the process of exploring those options but it is an encouraging start,” said Cork Simon director Dermot Kavanagh.
The most recent CSO figures showed there are 4,292 vacant properties in the city, and a further 15,000 in the county — almost 70 vacant properties for every homeless person in Cork.
Government figures show there are 263 adults in emergency accommodation across the region — a 25% increase on last year — with an average of 54 people availing of emergency shelter beds in the city every night.
“Five or six years ago, there were an average 20 free beds in the system,” said Mr Kavanagh.
“We are at the pin of our collar at the moment. We have been under huge pressure and we are fearful of what may be coming down the track. The housing crisis hasn’t turned the corner yet.
“Under this new initiative, we are putting a special focus on encouraging people to contact us about suitable vacant properties rather than just responding to what we can find ourselves. More homes are the answer to this crisis.”
Mr Kavanagh said the charity will tap into existing government funding schemes to pursue several options, including:
Under the buy and renew scheme, funding is available to return empty properties to use. The scheme targets residential properties that are empty and in need of repair.
To qualify, residential properties must be in need of renovation, and Cork Simon will buy the property from the owner at market rate.
Mr Kavanagh said they are interested in all types of residential property, including houses, flats, and apartments with one bedroom or more, as well as residential properties which require minimal renovation.
And they are interested in acquiring empty residential properties in any location throughout Cork.
Under the social leasing scheme, the charity is interested in leasing all types of houses or flats in good condition.
The charity will manage all aspects of the property rental and will guarantee a monthly rent for the duration of the lease.
The charity will maintain the property throughout the period of the lease and will guarantee to return the property to the owner in the same condition as at the start of the lease.
People can fill out an expression of interest form on corksimon.ie.
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