THERE are currently nine vacant social housing units in Shannon, according to a report at last week’s meeting of the town council.
Independent Cathy McCafferty requested information on the number of vacant social housing units in the town and the number of applicants for social housing.
In a report to the meeting, town clerk and administrative officer with Clare County Council’s Housing, Cultural and Emergency Services section, Liam O’Connor, outlined the local situation.
“Apart from the newly constructed development at Glaise na Rinne, there are nine vacant social housing units in Shannon. It should be noted that three of these units have been subject to refurbishment works, which are at practical completion stage and these units will be allocated within the next week.
Refurbishment works on one other unit has commenced and the expected completion date is mid-December. Due to budgetary constraints, work on the remaining five vacant units will not commence until next year.
“At present, 320 applicants have chosen Shannon as their area of preference for social housing. Based on experience to date, it is likely that a significant proportion of these applicants are interested in housing support via rent supplement only and do not wish to be considered for local authority housing.”
Responding to the report, Councillor McCafferty said the reason she had put forward the motion was that the social housing need in the State had risen from 56,000 to 98,000 from 2008 to 2011.
After she asked how long the work to take place next year on five vacant units would take, Mr O’Connor said it would depend on the allocation of funding, which would not be known until the New Year.
Mr O’Connor also said for people to be eligible for rent supplement, they must go onto the waiting list, even though they may not actually be interested in taking local authority housing.
Councillor Gerry Flynn said while the houses are empty they don’t produce revenue and said they need to be turned over “that bit quicker.”