Question No. 43 answered with Question No. 17.

Regeneration Projects Funding

Question No. 45 answered with Question No. 22.

Questions (44, 64)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

44. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the way 2014 funding for regeneration projects will be allocated; and the progress in the major regeneration schemes across the State. [44846/13]

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Brian Stanley

Question:

64. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the way in which the €79 million allocated for housing regeneration will be divided between those specific areas of regeneration in Dublin and Limerick; and the way the remainder of the fund will be allocated. [44807/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 44 and 64 together.

My Department currently supports an ambitious programme of regeneration which seeks to address the causes of disadvantage in communities and large social housing estates and flat complexes through holistic programmes of physical, social and economic regeneration. Some €70m is being provided in 2014 to support the completion or continuation of regeneration projects at a number of locations around the country including large scale projects in Ballymun, Dublin City, Limerick and Cork and smaller scale projects at Tralee, Sligo and Dundalk. A further €9 million is being allocated for a remedial works programme, focussed largely on the deep retrofitting of social housing units at a number of estates and flat complexes, including Liberty House in Dublin city.

The funding available for regeneration in 2014 will be allocated on the basis of the level of contractual commitments on regeneration projects currently underway and the regeneration work programmes to be submitted for 2014. I intend to announce details of these allocations early in the New Year.

Good progress is being made in the delivery of regeneration projects across the country. In relation to Dublin, construction works at Ballymun and St. Michael's Estate, Inchicore will be substantially completed in 2014. Plans for the refurbishment of 63 units and the construction of 37 new units at Dolphin House are well advanced, with demolition and construction works due to commence late 2014 or early 2015.

In the case of the redevelopment of St. Teresa's Gardens, the retrofitting of apartments to facilitate the de-tenanting of apartments due for demolition has commenced and it is anticipated that 16 units will be completed by the end of the year. This will facilitate the demolition of vacant units and the start of preparatory work for the construction of 50 new units on the cleared site.

In relation to Limerick, the regeneration programme over the past five years has facilitated a substantial acquisition and re-housing programme with over 1,000 households relocated to date. I recently launched a comprehensive Framework Implementation Plan which has the capacity to transform the four regeneration areas within Limerick. The implementation of this plan will see construction and refurbishment accelerate in all regeneration areas in 2014.

The proposed works for Cork City North West Regeneration are being carried out on a phased basis and in accordance with available funding. All the tenants from Phase 1 have now been relocated and the houses have been demolished. Work is due to commence shortly on the construction of 23 new social houses.

The Mitchel's Area regeneration programme in Tralee is in its final phase, having made significant progress in the delivery of key elements including the delivery of Phases 1 and 2 of the Tobar Naofa housing development.

The regeneration of the Cranmore estate in Sligo and Cox's Demesne in Dundalk are at an early stage of development. However, some important initial works have been completed including, in the case of the Cranmore Estate, a windows and doors replacement programme and the completion of the initial phases of the Cleveragh Regional Park. In the case of Cox's Demesne, the retrofitting of a number of houses has been completed with the next phase focussing on the strategic demolition of a number of dwellings and the construction of some new dwellings.

Question No. 45 answered with Question No. 22.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (46)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

46. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the rationale for the cut of €58 million from the housing budget, including €15.3 million from local authorities and €14.4 million from approved housing bodies, respectively, in the context of almost 112,000 applicants on the housing waiting lists and increasing difficulty for rent supplement and RAS recipients, given higher rents and increased minimum contributions. [44843/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

In terms of the delivery of social housing, the Government's housing policy statement, published in June 2011, clearly identifies that the priority for Government will be to meet the most acute needs of households applying for social housing support. The process of framing Budget 2014 involved making difficult choices given the overriding need to make the fiscal adjustments required to support exit from the EU-IMF Programme. The Abridged Estimate for my Department, published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Expenditure Report 2014, provides €525.8 million in respect of the Housing Programme. These resources have been supplemented by a further €50 million announced in the Budget to fund infrastructural investment primarily in the housing area, including €30 million to recommence a State house building programme; €10 million for an unfinished housing estate resolution project; and €10 million for housing adaptation grants. When taken together funding for housing for next year is effectively maintained at 2013 levels.

Local Development Companies Expenditure

Questions (47)

John McGuinness

Question:

47. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he plans to provide the local development companies at present operating the Leader programme with interim funding once their current contracts are concluded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44879/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Under the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 local development companies (LDCs) are permitted to spend up to 20% of their allocation on administration; this is approximately €74 million of the revised Programme value of €370m. In addition operational funding is also provided for animation activities. This is a substantial percentage of the fund and I have no plans to make additional interim funding available in addition to this.

Social and Affordable Housing Expenditure

Questions (48, 70)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

48. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the way in which funding for the €100 million investment in housing for the elderly in the recent budget announcements has been sourced; the way it will be allocated; the criteria for persons seeking to be housed with this initiative; and if there are any short, medium and longer term deadlines for implementation. [44835/13]

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Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

70. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views on whether the reduction in spending on social housing by €700 million from 2010 to €80.9 million for 2014 is regrettable and regressive. [44808/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 48 and 70 together.

The level of capital funding available to my Department has decreased significantly in recent years along the lines highlighted in the Medium Term Exchequer Framework for Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016. The Abridged Estimate for my Department, published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Expenditure Report 2014, provides €525.8 million in respect of the Housing Programme. These resources have been supplemented by a further €50 million announced in the Budget to fund infrastructural investment primarily in the housing area which includes €30 million to recommence a State house building programme; €10 million for an unfinished housing estate resolution pilot project; and €10 million for housing adaptation grants. When taken in conjunction, funding for Housing is effectively maintained at 2013 levels.

I am determined to ensure that the social housing programme optimises the delivery of social housing and the return for the resources invested. To achieve this, it is essential that we tailor the use of available Exchequer supports to prevailing conditions and explore the full range of solutions to address housing need. The 2014 Estimates will provide capital funding which will allow progress to continue to be made across a range of programmes under my Department's Social Housing Investment Programme (SHIP). These measures will include the provision of over €40 million to continue the local authority housing construction and acquisitions programme. I am confident that the additional €30 million being invested in local authority housing will facilitate the construction of new infill developments in areas with the highest demand for social housing and will bring long-term vacant units back into social use resulting in up to 500 new homes becoming available for families in 2014. I envisage that some 4,500 additional housing units will be provided next year through leasing and existing capital programmes.

Significant funding is also being provided to support the national regeneration programme with over €79 million available in 2014 to target the country's most socially disadvantaged communities and to support a range of remedial works schemes. 2014 will also see €25 million provided which will improve the energy efficiency of 12,500 local authority houses, resulting in warmer homes and lower energy bills for thousands of families.

In 2014, I will continue to focus the available resources towards the most vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors of the community. The capital provision will include over €40 million for the provision of accommodation by Approved Housing Bodies (AHB's) to be funded under the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS). Under CAS, funding of up to 100% of the approved cost is available for the provision of accommodation to meet the needs of persons with specific categories of housing need including older people. The additional €10 million provision under the suite of Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability, as announced last week, will facilitate the payment of more than 7,800 grants to assist older people and people with disabilities to remain at home for longer.

Unfinished Housing Developments

Questions (49)

Micheál Martin

Question:

49. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide details of the mechanism for the use of a new unfinished estate fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44862/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I intend to develop a fund for the resolution of certain unfinished housing developments that have not been possible to resolve up to this point. The precise criteria under which the fund will be disbursed are currently being developed and will be finalised shortly. However, I envisage that the fund will operate in a carefully targeted and evidence led fashion to aid the resolution of occupied developments and in a way that will stimulate more significant investment by the owners of these developments, including generating additional employment through the resolution works.