IGBChats #15: Vacancy and Dereliction Opportunities in Time of Crises

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At Peter McVerry Trust we are focused on finding pragmatic, effective and sustainable solutions to the homeless crisis. Since 2013 we have developed a reputation as an agency that takes on challenging derelict sites and vacant building renewal projects. By doing so, we have clearly demonstrated the opportunities presented by vacant and derelict buildings as part of wider response to housing need.

Our early foray into this space was borne out of an effort to find an effective and quick way to deliver housing in areas of need for homeless persons (urban centric); to fit with our scale and model of supports (anywhere between 1-25 social housing units); and within walking distance to key amenities for the future tenants (shops, post office, chemist, GP, school, work, etc).

Focusing on this space offered other key benefits. Firstly, there was limited competition and in particular limited competition for these sites and properties with first time buyers/owner-occupiers. Secondly, we could win over neighbours and communities more readily by showing the positive outcomes associated with reducing the anti-social behaviour that many derelict sites and vacant buildings have on communities and also removing the nightmare of actually living next to an abandoned property.

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