13 empty homes for every homeless adult, charity claims

Peter McVerry Trust says "no stone should be left unturned" in identifying suitable vacant properties to house homeless

13 empty homes for every homeless adult, charity claims

CEO Pat Doyle of Peter McVerry Trust. Image: RollingNews.ie

An all-party Oireachtas group will hear calls today for the Government to work on making vacant properties available for the homeless

The Peter McVerry Trust is addressing members of the Housing Committee this morning.

The group says there are 13 vacant houses around the country for every homeless adult in an Irish city - and the group suggests many of those could be utilised in the fight against homelessness.

Pat Doyle is the CEO of the Peter McVerry Trust, and he spoke on The Pat Kenny Show this morning.

He outlined the case of one man who got a five-year place in a vacant property in Dublin city centre.

"I asked him how did he feel about the key to the door. [He said] 'can't believe you gave me a key to a door, [I] think you're going to take it off me any day'.

"I said 'we're never taking it off you - when this lease is up we will automatically get you another one'.

"He [also] said 'I still don't feel I deserved it'. When I asked him why, [he said] most of his friends had died on the street or died of drug overdoses," Mr Doyle added.

He argued that "no stone should be left unturned" in efforts to identify suitable vacant properties.

Speaking about their calls for the use of empty homes, Mr Doyle explained in a statement: "We want to see immediate efforts to tackle vacant homes because they are the most cost effective and quickest way to deliver additional housing supply.

“Tackling empty homes is a no brainer - it can deliver badly needed housing, in areas with the greatest need, but only if Government commits to genuinely tackling the issue.”

Last week, figures revealed that the number of homeless people in Ireland has risen above 7,000 for the first time.

The use of vacant properties to address the crisis became a national debate during the occupation of Apollo House for several weeks during December and January.