Church asked to help in bid to address housing crisis

ireland
Church Asked To Help In Bid To Address Housing Crisis Church Asked To Help In Bid To Address Housing Crisis
The Government has asked the Catholic Church to identify land or vacant buildings it owns that could be used in the fight against the housing crisis. 
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The Government has asked the Catholic Church to identify land or vacant buildings it owns that could be used in the fight against the housing crisis.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien made the request to the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin, in recent days, according to The Irish Times.

It is part of the Government’s Housing for All plan.

The Irish Times reports Mr O'Brien highlighted comments made by the archbishop and clergy on the need to address the housing crisis when he made the request.

The Minister said identifying landbanks and vacant buildings will be key to the upcoming housing plan.

Dialogue

Sources with knowledge of the letter said it is an attempt to open dialogue with the church on the possibility of its lands and buildings going towards housing.

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The letter, which was sent last Wednesday, also acknowledges the church's independence in managing its property portfolio along with the fact that addressing the housing crisis is down to the State.

However, Mr O'Brien is understood to have highlighted the cooperation between some dioceses and local authorities in relation to unused land banks and properties.

He expressed hope that this model can be used on a larger scale to go towards helping with the national housing crisis.

Mr O'Brien suggests the State could be given the first option to purchase land or buildings that are being sold.

Darragh O’Brien, © PA Wire/PA Images

To facilitate this, the church would work with with organisations such as councils, Approved Housing Bodies and the Land Development Agency (LDA).

He mentioned issues such as homelessness, the impact of the crisis on renters and young families, adding that he knows the church is aware of the “need for strong action”.

The Most Rev Martin has previously said “radical action” needs to be taken on housing.

The Housing for All plan, which will seek to provide more than 33,000 homes per year by 2025, is set to be launched later this week.

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