Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government

Affordable Housing: Discussion

Mr. Jim Baneham:

The serviced sites fund is to assist local authorities in terms of subsidising infrastructure. Initially, when this was made available, the first call for proposals was restricted to ten local authorities. It was then broadened to 19 local authorities. It has not been made available to all local authorities, however, including the Senator’s. It is a tool to assist a local authority in being able to make housing more affordable for people in its locality.

The thinking behind the restriction is to concentrate on areas where the affordability issue is at its most pronounced. The Department had a circular in October last year where it sought submissions from local authorities to demonstrate the affordability issues they had in their areas. This allowed the Department to decide whether it needed to broaden this out. It did but, unfortunately, Carlow was not included.

In making housing more affordable, the current tool is the serviced sites fund. We understand there will be a further call and it might be made available to other local authorities.

We are in favour of people having an option to purchase, as well as to rent if the cost rental model gets off the ground and becomes a bigger thing. On incentives to private developers to deliver affordable housing, the legislation is in place with Part V but it is not currently activated. It is focused on social housing.

The agency has some lands in Carlow and will have a meeting with the local authority next week to try to develop them.