There are currently 127 vacant council-owned properties in Galway city, while 4,508 people are on the housing waiting list, new stats show.
Statistics released to Luke Silke – Aontú’s Tuam rep – show that the average cost for refurbishments in 2021 was just over €25,000.
The data released by Galway City Council confirmed that are currently no emergency homeless beds available and that the system is at full capacity.
Luke Silke said there are 458 people in the city currently in receipt of RAS support (Rental Accommodation Scheme), which sees €4 million paid to landlords in Galway each year to accommodate tenants who qualify for a council house.
“This breaks down at about €9,000 euro per year being paid to landlords per house. It is an extortionate cost to the Galway tax-payer,” he said.
“Aontú believe that it would be in the council’s economic interests to get the vacant properties which are already owned by the council back into use. The council have confirmed to me that this would cost an average of a mere €25,000 per vacant property.”
Mr Silke said that in the long run, we could save a fortune and go some way towards alleviating pressure on the housing system and rental market in Galway.
At the moment Galway City Council is occupying nearly 500 rental properties in the city, while sitting on 127 vacant properties.
“This fact will cause much frustration to anyone currently looking at DAFT struggling to find properties to rent,” said Mr Silke.
“The solution to the housing crisis is not near as complicated as the government would have you believe, a child, if asked, could provide the solution: Build more houses! We need to increase supply, decrease demand and the rent prices will come down.
“It would only take about €3 million to bring these properties back into use – if we then moved RAS 127 tenants into them we would save €1 million per annum on that scheme and simultaneously free up some 127 houses for the private rental market.”