Written answers

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Housing Policy

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

60. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he is increasing the serviced sites funds allocation for a site (details supplied) to €100,000 per unit; and if his Department has had discussions with Dublin City Council, the European Investment Bank and the Housing Finance Agency to lengthen the maturity of the loans to ensure the entry level rents are below €900 for the cost rental apartments. [23321/21]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

This Government is committed to ensuring that affordable, quality housing solutions are available to everyone in Irish society and this is reflected in the Programme for Government Our Shared Future. The Programme commits us to expanding the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF) and in this regard I have recently confirmed that a review of the funds operation is being undertaken.

Currently, the maximum funding allowable under the SSF is €50,000 per unit. With €310 million allocated to the SSF in 2019, this will provide infrastructure to support the delivery of more affordable homes on Local Authority lands. At least 6,200 more affordable homes, to buy or rent, can be facilitated in this way. A further €50 million has been allocated to the SSF in 2021. To date, SSF grants of €198 million has been approved in principle in support of 39 projects in 14 Local Authority areas, which will assist in the delivery of over 4,200 homes.

Dublin City Council has been granted approval in principle for an SSF grant of €18,750,000 in respect of the proposed development of its site at Emmet Road, Dublin 8 (the former St Michael's Estate). This infrastructure funding will support the delivery of approximately 375 homes for Cost Rental, which will form 70% of the total homes in the development. The remaining 30% of homes will be social housing and will be fully funded by my Department subject to the normal approval process.

In terms of direct funding for the Cost Rental units, in addition to my Department’s SSF grant, Dublin City Council has indicated an intention to secure funding support to deliver these homes. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has expressed strong interest in supporting Cost Rental at Emmet Road, given the EIB's track record of supporting similar public housing projects across Europe.

I am fully aware that the loan period for debt funding is a key element in making Cost Rental more affordable for tenants, since it allows the initial capital costs of a development to be spread over decades. For example, the new Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) scheme, under which my Department is supporting Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to deliver new homes for Cost Rental, involves forty-year Government loans to fund 30% of development costs. The AHBs concerned are pairing these very favourable CREL loans with forty-year loans on commercial terms from the Housing Finance Agency to fund the remaining capital costs.

Loan funding for the development of new Cost Rental homes at Emmet Road is primarily a matter for DCC, since the Council will be borrower, owner, and landlord, but there is a clear consensus about the benefits of long loan periods. I am aware that a representative from the EIB is supporting the work of the Council and engages on an ongoing basis with the Project Board overseeing the development.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.