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09 Dec 2021

Number of homeless Laois people expected to rise as landlords evict

More homeless Laois people created as landlords evict and sell up

Laois County Council is expecting more people in the county to be made homeless over the coming year.

The local authority has budgeted extra money for 2022 to cope with the extra people seeking a home from them.

The budget to deal with homelessness in Laois will rise by another €105,000, up to €554,000.

It comes as landlords can again serve notices to quit on their tenants, an action that was temporarily banned during Covid lockdowns.

Director of Services for Finance is Gerry Murphy said that only €450,000 of a €801,500 budget for homeless administration was spent in the past year.  

"We estimate a significant increase in homeless expenditure. We are aware there are some notices to quit issued. There was a moritorium in 2021 during Covid-19 so some of them may come into play during 2022.

"There is a realisation out there and some of the members have mentioned it, that some people renting houses have got notices to quit. So they may come back into the council looking for the local authority to pay homeless accommodation, so we increased that €450,000 by a further €104,000 for 2022.

"It is 90% recoupable. We can't say at this stage whether it will be that figure or less or more," he said.

He spoke at the council's 2022 budget meeting, when almost €89million was signed off to run Laois next year, the highest annual budget ever in Laois. 

Cllr Willie Aird said the situation faced by some of his constituents is "frightening".

"In the last 10 days I have been approached by three people with notices to quit from their landlords. They are very frightened at where to turn to. It is a very embarrassing position, it's very difficult if you have a couple of children. In Portlaoise landlords are disposing of their properties. 

"I hope you ensure that this money is spent quickly and wisely in areas so when people find themselves in this position we can mobilise a unit in our housing section to provide them with 100% support," Cllr Aird said.

The budget sets aside €1.83 million to maintain 2,253 council houses in 2022. It includes the wages for another seven new housing maintenance staff including a plumber and electrician.

The council expects to take in over €7 million in council rents next year. It expects to deliver another 296 homes in 2022 including 104 it will build directly, 92 leased from approved housing bodies, 60 relets, 20 purchased and 20 leased houses.

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