Rob Lowth: head of homeless services in Limerick
LIMERICK City and County Council is planning to drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to relet social houses.
At this week’s housing committee meeting, head of homeless services Rob Lowth said the system is being “front-loaded” to cut the time a house returned to the local authority takes to be given to another person.
In recent years, it has, on average, taken up to 15 months to relet homes.
But Mr Lowth said: “In terms of an average, we are trying to bring it closer to ten weeks. We would have some properties out there which would require heavier works to do. But I’m looking at a ten week turnaround in terms of works on a property.”
In many cases, the council official said a new family would move in immediately after that, such is the pressure on the social housing sector at present.
At the meeting, Labour councillor Joe Leddin made a call for skilled craftspeople to be re-employed by the council.
This is something Mr Lowth says the authority is working towards.
“We do still have various trades within our direct labour pool. But we do outsource when we do not have the capacity. We are looking at the potential of increasing our skills pool to bring us back to the stage where we were once upon a time,” he added.
Back in 2015, the Limerick Leader revealed it took City and County Council on average 15 months to re-let properties.
At the time, this was criticised by housing campaigner Fr Peter McVerry.
He said it is “absurd” a home should be left vacant for so long.
“The turnaround of houses should be three to four months,” he added.