Written answers

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Housing Policy

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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284. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government his views on the finding in the IHREC and ESRI Monitoring Adequate Housing in Ireland report that 29% of persons living with a disability experience housing quality issues when compared with those without a disability (details supplied). [44904/21]

Photo of Peter BurkePeter Burke (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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The housing needs of people with disabilities are addressed in the National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability (NHSPWD). A review of the Strategy is underway with a view to preparation of a successor NHSPWD and consultations are ongoing.

The Government is determined to ensure that housing policy addresses the needs of those who experience exclusion in our society. There is ongoing and extensive engagement with all local authorities across all delivery streams to ensure maximum delivery of homes for those who need them. I meet regularly with local authorities and I know that they are committed to ensuring that housing is provided to all eligible applicants as speedily as possible and that the support needs of applicants are appropriately assessed.

Housing for All – A New Housing Plan for Ireland which was launched earlier this month targets delivery of more homes of all types for people with different housing needs, including delivery of over 10,000 new social homes per year to 2030.

Specifically in relation to housing quality, social housing is built to the design standards set out in the guidelines 'Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities' which are available at www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/migrated-files/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/Housing/FileDownLoad%2C1979%2Cen.pdf.

In preparing the Guidelines, particular account was taken of the objectives of government policy on sustainability, including access for people with disabilities and meeting varied needs of occupants through their lifetime. The design approach to social housing seeks to eliminate barriers to accessibility for all users - particularly older people and those with mobility impairment or other disability. Where units are being designed for those with disabilities, the Guidelines refer to the National Disability Authority publication 'Building for Everyone: Inclusion, Access and Use'. More recently, the Housing Agency published a Roadmap titled 'Designing Housing to Meet the Needs of All' which has specific regard to the principles of universal design. www.housingagency.ie/sites/default/files/2019-07/Designing-Housing-to-meet-the-needs-of-all.pdf

In repect of rented properties the minimum standards for rental accommodation are prescribed in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2019. All landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties including those under HAP, comply with the regulations governing the minimum standards for rented accommodation. Under section 41 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014, local authorities are required to commence this inspection process within 8 months of HAP being paid in relation to a particular dwelling if not already inspected within the previous 12 months.

The Programme for Government also commits to the 'retrofit' of 500,000 homes to a B2/Cost Optimal Equivalent BER standard by 2030, of which it is expected that approximately 36,500 will be local authority owned homes. A new ten year Energy Efficiency Programme was launched in 2021 with a significant increase in funding support to €65 million. The newly revised programme will see a significant upscaling (from a ‘shallow’ to ‘deeper retrofit’) on what has been completed by local authorities in previous years and focuses on ensuring that the fabric of the home is upgraded and an energy efficient heating system is provided.


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