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Dublin: 13 °C Sunday 19 May, 2019
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Taking rundown Dublin buildings and turning them into homes

A homelessness charity sees vacant or derelict sites as a way of alleviating the homelessness crisis.

Photo_2017-06-16_02-56-16_PM The inside of St agatha's Court, before and after it was renovated. Source: PMV Trust

ELEVEN NEW APARTMENTS were unveiled this week in Dublin’s inner city.

St Agatha’s Court on North William Street will provide permanent homes to be people who have been homeless or have faced serious housing issues for years.

The apartments were developed and will be operated by homelessness charity Peter McVerry Trust, which re-developed an existing derelict building

The St Agatha’s Court site was owned by Dublin City Council and scheduled for demolition when it was taken over by the PMV Trust.

A €1.4 million project saw the site re-developed into the 11 apartments. This approach – the renovating of vacant or derelict buildings and bringing them back to use – has been a central approach of the PMV Trust in its efforts to combat housing shortage and the homelessness crisis.

The 11 apartments of St Agatha’s Court brings to 50 the total number of housing units developed by the charity from old buildings.

Photo_2017-06-16_02-58-21_PM The outside of St Agatha's Court before and after it was renovated. Source: PMV Trust

Vacant dwellings

Figures from the 2016 Census show that there were 183,312 vacant dwellings in Ireland, excluding holiday homes. This figures does not include derelict buildings that are uninhabitable.

In 2014, the PMV Trust began to focus on vacant buildings and derelict sites, looking at how these can be used to increase housing supply.

Instead of focusing solely on new builds, the Trust believes that renovating and reusing existing buildings can be a more cost-effective, quicker and more sustainable way to delivering houses.

It’s first major renovation project was six apartments on Pim Street in Dublin 8, which were originally local authority housing that were declared void.

Before - Rear yard The Pim Street development in dublin before it was renovated. Source: PMV Trust

The charity followed up with subsequent redevelopments in various places around the inner city. The 11 units as St Agatha’s bring their number to 50.

A spokesperson for the Peter McVerry Trust said the charity has “at least” 100 additional units coming on stream in the next three years.

As well as this active use, the Trust also operates the reusingdublin.ie website, which aims to map and track vacant and derelict sites in the capital, as well as raise awareness of the issue.

Part of the government’s housing action plan – Rebuilding Ireland – is focused reusing existing housing stock. This part was due to be put into action in March of this year, but it had been delayed.

Read: ‘I fought to get clean and to get where I am today’: New apartments in Dublin give hope to homeless people

Read: Coveney’s aim for no homeless families in hotels by July? Not a chance says McVerry

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About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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