Renewed appeal for Westmeath properties to house Ukrainian people
Westmeath County Council has made another appeal to those who have unoccupied properties to offer them as temporary homes for those fleeing war in Ukraine.
The renewed call is part of a government initiative, led by local authorities, to make use of unoccupied houses, apartments or holiday homes to house Ukrainian people and families. To date 24 houses in Westmeath have been offered under the scheme, which provides property owners with a tax-free recognition payment of €800 per month.
More than 70,000 people have arrived in Ireland from Ukraine seeking safety and the vast majority need accommodation.
Under the ‘Offer a Home’ programme, Westmeath County Council will take offers of houses, apartments, or holiday homes for temporary accommodation, liaise with owners to assess suitability, and arrange for their use by Ukrainian people and families.
Those who offer a property can expect to be contacted by the Westmeath Ukrainian Response Department within five working days of making their offer and an assessment of the property will be carried out by the Local Authority shortly after. The assessment is to ensure the property is habitable and to get some details so it can be matched to the most appropriate person or family.
Anybody who offers a property will be able to check the status of their offer at any stage through the website gov.ie/offerahome.
This is a call for stand-alone properties that are not occupied by others. Properties should be in liveable condition and, ideally, available for at least 6 months.
While rent will not be payable to those who offer properties, a tax-free recognition payment of €800 per month is available from the Department of Social Protection to those who offer accommodation to Ukrainians.
The Offer a Home programme began in late November last year (2022) and to date, 24 homes have been offered to Westmeath County Council
Appealing to the people of Westmeath to offer unused properties, Mark Keaveney, Director of Services said: “The welcome Irish people have shown to those arriving from Ukraine has been exceptional, and we are so thankful to those who have already offered homes. We know that people are very anxious to help where they can so we’re appealing to anybody who has a suitable property and hasn’t been able to offer it before now to please consider getting in touch with us to find out what is involved.
“We understand that it can be daunting to offer a property to someone you don’t know. That is why local authorities will work with you throughout the process and be there to offer support while your property is being used.
“If you have a property that is otherwise going to be empty over the coming months, please consider offering it for those who badly need a safe home for a while.”
To offer a property or for more information, visit gov.ie/offerahome or check the Westmeath County Council website www.westmeathcoco.ie for further detailsj.