Wednesday, 4 October 2006
Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Local Authority Housing
Question 120: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of families currently in receipt of rent support in lieu of local authority housing; the number of families on the various local authority housing lists; the number of such houses being provided annually; when he expects house building in the sector to match the total number on the housing list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31018/06]
Noel Ahern (Minister of State, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Minister of State, Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs; Dublin North West, Fianna Fail)
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Recent information provided by the Department of Social and Family Affairs indicates that there are some 60,000 households currently in receipt of rent supplement. Over half of those, about 32,000, have been on rent supplement for 18 months or more. This cohort is provisionally assessed as in need of long-term housing. According to the results of the March 2005 Statutory Assessment of social housing needs, some 32% of this group have applied for local authority housing.
The needs assessment indicated that there were 43,684 households on local authority waiting lists compared with 48,413 in March 2002 — a decrease of almost 10%. The decrease in the number on housing waiting lists has resulted from the positive impact of the Government's investment in the provision of social and affordable housing. A breakdown of the 2005 assessment by local authority is available on my Department's website.
In 2005 local authorities started 6,273 local authority houses and completed over 5,127. Further details are also available on my Department's website.
Last June I informed local authorities of their financial allocations for their local authority housing programmes. I have urged them to accelerate progress on the implementation of their programmes in order to commence construction and secure completion on as many social housing schemes as possible in 2006. The total allocation for 2006 is €942 million. This should allow for the completion of over 5,000 housing units in the year.
The Government have committed in the social partnership agreement, Towards 2016, to higher levels of output to meet assessed need as part of a comprehensive programme of social housing investment. This includes an additional 4,000 new housing units over the period 2007 to 2009 through a combination of local authority and voluntary and co-operative housing and, private rented accommodation using long-term contractual arrangements.
The impetus for the delivery of affordable housing will also be maintained with over 17,000 units to be delivered from the various affordable schemes between 2007 and 2009. Overall, the needs of 60,000 households will be met through the various social and affordable housing schemes in this period.