Limerick Council to reconsider modular homes in bid solve housing crisis

Nick Rabbitts

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Nick Rabbitts

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nick@limerickleader.ie

Limerick Council to reconsider modular homes in bid solve housing crisis

The idea of using modular homes was previously raised in 2015

LIMERICK City and County Council are putting in place ‘hubs' to help families living in hotels and bed and breakfasts.

At this week’s housing committee meeting in County Hall, council official Carmel Kirby revealed there are currently 65 families having to stay in local hotels due to the fact there is no suitable housing for them.

In an effort to help them be ready to return to permanent accommodation, the local authority is opening two facilities next month – one to house 10 families, the other 30.

“These families are our real priority at the moment,” said Ms Kirby, “What we are preparing for those is two family hubs. While they are not the ideal solution for families, they certainly provide a better solution than bed and breakfast and hotel accommodation.”

She also revealed a third building which will help a further four families – the council is in the process of refurbishing.

“After that, any vacant stock which comes up, we will actively and pro-actively get these units back into use, and this will help with the remaining families in this emergency homeless situation,” Ms Kirby stated.

The council official said she is not in a position to state where in the city these units will be located.

Separately, Ms Kirby also announced two other measures to get the housing waiting list down – proposed modular homes and ‘rapid build’ facilities.

She said: “We have 3,131 people on the housing waiting list. We need to see how we can provide emergency accommodation as quickly as possible. We have a lot of this emergency accommodation in Limerick, and it’s been extremely well managed by approved housing bodies. But there does seem to be an increase in the numbers in emergency accommodation, and we’ll need to provide quick build modular homes for these people.”

Meanwhile, councillors say the local authority is being “tied up” in its wishes to build new homes, because of bureaucracy.

Independent councillor Richard O’Donoghue, a builder by trade, said: “Material costs are going on. Regulation on houses is causing a huge problem. By 2020, for example, every house will have to have a ventilation hut. The problem is getting bigger and all we are getting in return is bureaucratic bull.”

The idea of using modular homes was previously raised in 2015, with council officials saying they had been contacted by providers and were reviewing this information.

At the time, Cllr Cian Prendiville, Solidarity, expressed opposition.

But former Education and Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan backed the proposals.