A project at London councils to alleviate homelessness is enabling Irish tenants to return home permanently.

In a bid to tackle homelessness, 28 of the 32 London borough councils are operating a scheme through which their tenants are offered grants to buy new homes in the private sector.

A number of their Irish tenants are using the money to buy properties in Ireland, utilising the scheme as a means to return home for good. The vacated council houses they leave behind are then allocated to homeless people, or to those living in temporary accommodation.

Joan Wilson and her family are some of the first to avail of the scheme. Islington borough council paid £50,000 for their home near the village of Oranmore in County Galway.

It's fantastic for a four bedroom house plus half an acre.

In exchange for her home in County Galway, Joan Wilson had to give up her London council house and her Mayo born mother Mary Shannon had to give up her council flat.

While it might seem strange the English tax payer is footing the bill for her lifestyle choice, Joan Wilson points out homeless families in temporary accommodation cost £300 a week.

What they’re giving us is nothing, compared to what they’re paying out for these people in bed and breakfast.

Joan Wilson thinks the scheme is a great idea.

It’s like a dream to us.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 15 January 1992. The reporter is Jim Fahy.