Written answers

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Social and Affordable Housing

Photo of Noel GrealishNoel Grealish (Galway West, Independent)
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264. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if there is an affordable housing scheme to provide affordable housing on lands owned by the local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49508/19]

Photo of Eoghan MurphyEoghan Murphy (Dublin Bay South, Fine Gael)
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In line with the commitments in Rebuilding Ireland to support the delivery of discounted homes to buy or rent, this Government has allocated €310 million under the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF) over the period 2019 to 2021.  This funding will provide for infrastructure to support the delivery of some 6,200 affordable homes on local authority lands.  SSF is being made available in areas where local authorities have demonstrated a requirement for more affordable housing and a viability to deliver such housing on their sites.

Land utilisation and activation is, in the first instance, a matter for the local authority and its elected members including the development of its land for the delivery of more affordable private housing. Nevertheless, in order to target SSF funding interventions, in October 2018, local authorities were invited to undertake an economic assessment of their sites to assess whether the provision of affordable homes was necessary and economically viable.  As part of that assessment local authorities were also asked to consider the broader housing affordability within their area.  19 local authorities returned economic assessments to my Department.

To date, I have allocated SSF funding of €127 million, in support of 35 projects in 14 local authority areas, for infrastructure works that will see the delivery of almost 3,200 affordable homes.  I anticipate that a further Call for Proposals under the SSF will issue to local authorities in 2020. Full details of the projects approved under the 1st and 2nd SSF calls can be found at the following links:

Homes delivered under the SSF are subject to the provisions of Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 which was commenced in June 2018.  This legislation now provides the statutory basis for the delivery of affordable housing for purchase in the State. Regulations in respect of the making of Schemes of Priority were signed on 12 March 2019, and these were issued to local authorities on 22 March 2019.  The purpose of a Scheme of Priority is to set out the affordable purchase arrangements at local authority level.  This includes the methodology that will be applied by local authorities to determine the order of priority to be accorded to eligible households where the demand for such affordable dwellings exceeds the number available.  

In line with the legal requirements of the Affordable Dwelling Purchase Arrangements, further regulations will be put in place over the coming months regarding eligibility and other matters. When the operational procedures for the scheme are finalised, and before dwellings are made available for purchase under the scheme, a programme of communication will be undertaken by my Department and local authorities.

In addition to SSF, funding of €200m has also been made available under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), which is also designed to activate housing supply by putting in place the enabling public infrastructure necessary to ensure that large scale development could take place on key sites in urban areas of high housing demand.  30 projects received final approval, at a total cost of €195.71 million, of which €146.69 million will be funded by the Exchequer with local authorities funding the balance.  These projects will stimulate development of approximately 20,000 housing units across 14 local authorities and approximately 7,800 of these homes will be offered at a discount on open market prices.

These schemes will complement other key Government affordability initiatives, such as the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, and the Help to Buy Scheme, which have supported over 15,000 households nationally.

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