'Place CPOs on vacan Wexford homes to ease housing crisis'
SINN Fein Councillor Anthony Kelly has called for the immediate compulsory purchase of vacant houses to tackle the growing housing crisis in County Wexford.
Speaking after the county council passed his motion calling for 'the utilisation' of vacant four-to-five bedroom houses for emergency accommodation, Cllr Kelly said the housing crisis requires 'drastic and immediate action'.
'Currently we have a draconian system where families requiring emergency housing accommodation can find themselves being split up, with the father placed in Ozanam House while the rest of the family are sent to the Women's Refuge.
'We also have whole families sent to live semi-permanently in B&Bs and hotel rooms, living in cramp conditions like something out of a Charles Dickens' novel. Its not sustainable or ethical.'
Recent CSO figures revealed that County Wexford has a 9.3 per cent housing vacancy rate and a 16.6 per cent vacancy rate in Wexford town.
These figures do not include holiday homes and essentially account only for suitable homes that are not being used.
'This failure of usage is morally and economically wrong in the middle of the worst housing crisis the state has known. Sinn Fein is calling on unused property to be procured under CPO immediately. Many of these houses are being purposely kept empty until housing figures increase further. This type of profiteering cannot be tolerated at this time.'
During last week's county council meeting, Cllr John Hegarty suggested that the houses could lie vacant for significant periods of time as people find more long term accommodation, however, Cllr Johnny Mythen disputed this, saying there were 525 homeless people in the county in 2016.