A new online system to advertise vacant homes to 7,356 people on Cork County Council’s housing waiting list is expected to be launched in the summer.
Officials briefed councillors at a meeting of the Western Division in Clonakilty yesterday on the choice-based letting (CBL) system which, they said, would make it faster to allocate houses because they would only offer them to people who had expressed an interest in the first place.
Vacant houses will be advertised online and all qualified social housing applicants will have access to it via a user ID and PIN code.
Tony Murphy, administration officer in the council’s housing directorate, said he expects it to be rolled out first in North Cork in the summer and then throughout the rest of the county before the end of the year.
Mr Murphy said CBL could be accessed through an applicant’s PC, laptop, or smartphone.
‘’Where applicants do not have these facilities available to them PC facilities will be made available to them at council divisional offices [County Hall, Clonakilty, and Mallow] and at area offices and library branches,’’ he said.
The system is being copied from one successfully used by Cork City Council and all properties, except for units specifically adapted for people with disabilities or other medical issues, will be advertised as soon as they become available.
Mr Murphy said properties will normally be advertised for one week, but that may be extended to a second week depending on the amount of interest generated.
Applicants will be asked when signing up to state an area of choice. Mr Murphy said the council is also looking at providing a text alert service to applicants if a house becomes available which fits this choice.
He said one of the benefits of the scheme would be to let out vacant houses faster.
Mary Ryan, the council’s director of housing services, said all those on the housing waiting list will be written to shortly to inform them about the CBL system.
She said the key difference with the new system is that houses will not be offered to everybody but to those who specifically express an interest in a type of property in a certain area.
News that it will lead to faster turnaround times was welcomed by Councillor Paul Hayes (SF).
He said that under the current system many people offered homes refuse them because they’re not in the specific area of their choice.
However, Mr Hayes said he was still concerned about the length of time it was taking to refurbish houses.
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