Local TD Declan Breathnach has called for the housing crisis to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
The Fianna Fáil TD said it was wrong that people had to wait on Louth County Council’s housing list for eight years before getting a home.
He said there was definitely a crisis in the housing sector and encouraged vacant units to be brought on stream to ease the waiting list time as a matter of urgency.
“Recognising that there is a crisis in housing is essential,” said Deputy Breathnach.
“The reality is that for most local authority lets, except in medical and disability exceptional circumstances, anyone on the housing list has to wait up to eight years. We should not be giving them a false expectation in terms of the current availability of social housing and housing association lets. To tell people anything other than that is a falsehood.
“Looking at the Census 2016 results for Co Louth there are more people in rental accommodation at 12,350 households than in 2011 when the figure was 11,538. With rents spiralling out of control this is a worry as more people will be forced to seek social housing due to high rents in the private market.
“Although there are fewer vacant dwellings at 4,713 than in 2011 when there were 6,232 the figure is still very high.
“We need to speed up the roll-out of the Repair and Leasing Scheme to bring these vacant units back into use.
“According to a Freedom of Information Request I put to Louth County Council the number of vacant units owned by them in 2017 is 56. I was also told that it takes approximately 18 weeks to return a vacant social housing unit back into use. It should be a priority for the Council to bring these vacant units back into use without delay.
“I was also told that 93 people presented as homeless in Co. Louth as at January 2017. This is unacceptable given that there are vacant units available for refurbishment,” he said.