A lot of consideration has gone into this initiative by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform and me. One of the key principles in Project Ireland 2040 is compact growth, which means that 40% of the 1 million extra population will be in the cores of our villages, towns and city centres. With regard to strategic land banks in our main cities such as the north quays in Waterford, sites in Cork and Limerick and even sites in Dublin, particularly around the Naas Road, the agency will have a mandate to work across local authority boundaries to get strategic land banks into use.
I imagine the number of staff in the agency will be no more than 20. It is not about developing a new quango; it is about a group of experts who can help project manage certain strategic pieces of infrastructure. The legislation we will be using to set up the body will be the Local Government Services (Corporate Bodies) Act 1971 under which bodies can be established by order to provide services to the Minister and local authorities. It is the same legislation that set up the Housing Agency. Under that legislation we will set up a new land management agency to work with local authorities and my Department to make sure we can bring the strategic land banks back into use.
The Deputy raised the matter of the numbers of families and individuals experiencing homelessness at the moment. While we have seen an increase in the numbers, it is important to note that since Rebuilding Ireland came into existence a huge amount of work has been done to help people who are experiencing homelessness. In the course of 2017, 4,000 people exited homelessness. If we look at the number of people and families who are homeless, in Dublin in particular, the rate of increase in 2015 was 106%. In 2016, it was 51%. In 2017, the rate of increase was only 9%. That tells us that Rebuilding Ireland is working. We are making significant progress. If we continue our efforts over the course of 2018, we will see a significant decline.