Written answers

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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182. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide a breakdown of the total number of houses to be built per year under the social housing strategy 2020; if he will provide the figures for the breakdown of housing allocations per county as well as per local authority area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46588/14]

Photo of Alan KellyAlan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)
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The Social Housing Strategy 2020: Support, Supply and Reform, approved by Government and published last week, builds on the provisions contained in Budget 2015 and sets out clear, measureable actions and targets to increase the supply of social housing, reform delivery arrangements and meet the housing needs of all households on the housing list. In committing to provide 35,000 new social housing units, at a projected cost of €3.8 billion, the strategy marks a fresh start for social housing in Ireland. It is estimated that this level of investment will create or sustain some 29,000 construction industry jobs. Importantly, the Strategy restores the State to a central role in the provision of social housing through a resumption of direct building on a significant scale, primarily by local authorities and approved housing bodies.

The strategy will be delivered in two phases. Phase 1 targets the delivery of 18,000 additional housing units and 32,400 Housing Assistance Payment and Rental Accommodation Scheme units by the end of 2017. In phase 2, spanning the years 2018 to 2020, the strategy targets the delivery of 17,000 additional units and 43,000 Housing Assistance Payment and Rental Accommodation Scheme units.

In the initial phase, increased Exchequer funding is necessary to underpin delivery. The Government has already committed this initial funding, through the €2.2 billion announced as part of Budget 2015. The provision of this funding will allow time for the work to be carried out to move towards more off-balance sheet funding, through the extension to the NAMA Special Purpose Vehicle, a large scale Public Private Partnership and the establishment of a 'Strategic Housing Fund'.

The strategy provides a clear governance structure which , as Minister, I will personally oversee to ensure delivery. Action 1 of the Strategy requires the agreement of targets for delivery of social housing next year and in subsequent years. These specific targets will be agreed through the governance structure, which is currently being put in place, in collaboration with local authorities and with input from the approved housing body sector. For 2015, I expect that some 7,400 new social housing units will be provided under the range of existing initiatives broken down as follows: 3,000 units through leasing initiative; 2,000 new Rental Accommodation Scheme units; 1,000 vacant local authority units will be refurbished and brought back to use; with a further 1,400 units to be built or acquired by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies through the Social Housing Investment Programme and Capital Assistance Scheme. A further 8,400 households will be assisted through the Housing Assistance Payment.

While local authorities are responsible for the detailed planning of social housing provision based on the needs of their areas, my Department is working with all authorities, within the context of the increased funding now available, to advance projects already in train and to plan for further developments directly by local authorities and by approved housing bodies to meet the Social Housing Strategy targets for 2015 and beyond.


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