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Empty Homes Advocacy and Campaigns

Below we set out a short summary of our empty homes advocacy and campaigns work to date. The goal of our empty homes advocacy and campaigns is to generate the most sustainable return to use of empty buildings, underused space and derelict sites. This, we believe, will help create better communities with increased housing options.

Origins of our Campaign

On World Homeless Day (10th October) 2014, Peter McVerry Trust called for immediate action to be taken to tackle the areas of empty homes, derelict sites and underused spaces.

In the press statement the charity said:

“Peter McVerry Trust has called for a full audit and assessment of buildings in Dublin City to ascertain what potential exists to turn empty and poorly utilised spaces into housing solutions. The homeless and housing charity believes that a scheme designed to bring back into use inefficiently managed spaces could help provide social and private rental solutions in the city.”

Since then Peter McVerry Trust has continued to raise this issue with appropriate agencies and stakeholders.

Lobbying Politicians and Policy Makers

Peter McVerry Trust has regularly raised the issue of vacant or empty homes with politicians and policy makers at local and national levels

Among our more recent actions includes making the issue of empty homes, derelict sites and underused spaces are core part of our submission to the development of National Housing Action Plan (Rebuilding Ireland). In January 2017 Peter McVerry Trust wrote to the Oireachtas Housing Committee requesting that they discuss the issue of empty homes. The Committee then scheduled a hearing and invited Peter McVerry Trust and other experts to discuss the issue ahead of the Government’s new empty homes strategy.

Peter McVerry Trust continues to work in partnership with local authorities to maximise the potential that exists and is in regular communications with the Housing Agency in the run up to the final strategy.

Public Awareness Campaigns

Peter McVerry Trust continues to use its media presence and social media platforms to highlight the issue of empty homes, derelict sites and underused spaces.

This includes providing information relating to empty homes by county and by region.

Public Opinion Poll Spring 2017

In February/March 2017 Peter McVerry Trust, through the polling company Ireland Thinks, conducted a nationwide survey of 1,200 people on the issues of an empty homes tax and the use of empty homes to house people in emergency homeless accommodation.

The survey found that 62% of people were in favour of an empty homes tax being applied to a property empty for 1 year or more. The survey found that 89% of people favoured using empty homes to provide homes to the homeless.

Empty Homes Conference

Peter McVerry Trust organised Ireland’s first Empty Homes Conference on March 9th 2017. The aim of the conference was to assist in the development of an evidence based response to empty homes in Ireland.

You can find out more information on the conference here.