Dublin property owners who avail of a Government grant to refurbish vacant housing for renting will have their properties used to accommodate homeless people.
The €140 million Repair and Leasing Scheme allows local authorities to enter into long-term leases with owners of empty properties that are too run down to rent out.
Property owners can avail of a grant of up to €40,000 to bring their vacant houses and apartments up to standard. In return, they must sign up to a lease arrangement with their city or county council for a minimum of 10 years. The value of the repairs is offset incrementally against the rental income.
The scheme was announced last year as part of the Government's Rebuilding Housing Strategy and was run on a pilot basis in Waterford and Carlow. Last month, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney extended the scheme nationally.
Dublin City Council has decided to deliver the scheme at arms length, by using approved housing bodies to enter into agreements with landlords. In a letter to the housing charities, the council said it had decided to use most of the housing secured for homeless families and individuals.
The council plans to split the city into six zones and offer each zone to a different charity to “seek out property owners who may be interested in availing of the scheme and to take on a suitable lease”.
Peter McVerry Trust chief executive Pat Doyle said empty homes offered "quick wins at a time of acute need" for homeless people and that he hoped other local authorities would follow suit.
A fund of €32 million has been allocated to the scheme this year with a target of bringing 800 homes into use. More than 20,000 apartments and houses, excluding holiday homes, are vacant in Dublin city and suburbs, according to the 2016 census.