New fund launched to revitalise vacant buildings

A new €50m fund has been launched to bring vacant and underused buildings in Donegal’s towns and villages back into residential use.

The Croí Cónaithe fund aims to tackle vacancy, combat dereliction and breathe new life into town centres across the country.

The Scheme is set to benefit those who wish to turn a formerly vacant house or building into their principal private residence and become part of the community in the area, furthering the aim to create town centres that function as viable, vibrant and attractive locations for people to live, work and visit, while also functioning as the service, social, cultural and recreational hub for the local community.

The Fund will be delivered through local authorities who will provide a grant to support the refurbishment of vacant properties, with priority given to applications in areas where the level of vacancy or dereliction is high.

A grant of up to €30,000 will be available for the refurbishment of vacant properties for occupation as a principal private residence, including the conversion of a property which has not been used as a home before now.

Where a property is derelict, a maximum top-up grant amount of up to €20,000 will be available, bringing the total grant available for a derelict property up to a maximum of €50,000. This can also be combined with the SEAI Better Energy Home Scheme that covers works of up to €26,750.

Announcing the new initiative, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin emphasised,

We know there is a great appetite across the towns and villages of Donegal to bring vacant properties back into use for home ownership and this scheme will provide the ability to turn many of those opportunities into reality. This initiative is among the suite of measures in Housing for All which are designed to ensure that everyone has access to good quality housing as well as seeking to strengthen and diversify rural towns and villages to be a focus for local housing and employment growth.”

Minister Darragh O’Brien TD added, “The Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund is another key delivery milestone in the Government’s Housing for All plan and supporting home ownership. Recently we launched our new Home First Scheme, announced affordable and cost rental accommodation to be developed through the Land Development Agency at Shanganagh and promoted the development of apartments for owner occupiers through the Croí Conaithe Cities fund. Today, this scheme becomes our latest addition to boosting home ownership by supporting people to refurbish vacant properties to become their homes, enabling them to live in towns and villages and addressing vacancy through sustainable reuse.  At the same we are adding to the vibrancy of towns and villages across the country and supporting local communities. I also intend extending the scheme further into city areas with high vacancy or dereliction in the coming months.”

The application form, eligibility criteria and associated FAQs as published (available here) will provide additional information to people who would like to apply for the grant. Further information will be available from the Vacant Homes Officer in each local authority.


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