Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
Social and Affordable Housing Provision
1206. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if Galway County Council and Galway City Council can continue to purchase houses on the open market for the purposes of social housing in circumstances in which this is the most appropriate way of providing social housing in individual cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3004/20]
The acquisition of second hand properties for social housing purposes by local authorities, has always been a part of their delivery approaches. However, it has always been the case that such an approach needs to be used carefully, focusing on priority situations, with local authorities seeking to ensure that they do not interfere unduly with the local private market. Local authorities should also be mindful of their construction programmes and those of AHBs; where these programmes are delivering new build social housing, this should be a priority rather than undertaking significant programmes of acquisitions.
This approach will continue into 2020 under Rebuilding Ireland and, in the case of Galway City and County Councils, it is particularly notable that their construction programmes for new social housing, are significantly higher for 2020 and 2021, compared with previous years. It's important therefore, that the efforts and resources of the local authorities are focused more significantly on their construction programmes and that they continue to use acquisitions in line with the above approach, where appropriate for priority situations.
In locations where, for example, a new build approach is not envisaged for social housing delivery, I would encourage local authorities to acquire and refurbish properties that may be derelict or in need of upgrade. Programmes such as 'Repair & Lease' and 'Buy & Renew' support such work or local authorities may undertake a construction project to remediate older properties.