I propose to take Questions Nos. 41 and 80 together.
Implementation of the Government's Rebuilding Ireland action plan is well under way and making significant progress. This was evident in the social housing output indicative figures published last month, which showed that nearly 26,000 households had their social housing needs met in 2017. In 2017 some 85,799 households in the country were assessed as being qualified for social housing support, which represented a decrease of 6.3% on the comparable figure for 2016. This shows that small progress is being made in the right direction. There will be no let-up in the Government's focus on the issue. The resources provided through Rebuilding Ireland are allowing us to respond in a significant manner. Over €1.4 billion was provided for investment in housing in 2017. The 2018 budget provides over €1.9 billion to tackle housing matters. Taxpayers' money is being spent to try to address the problem. This investment will yield substantial delivery activity and ensure we make further significant progress towards meeting the overall target of delivering 50,000 social homes by 2021 through construction, refurbishment, acquisition and leasing. That number is alongside an accelerated roll-out of the housing assistance payment scheme to meet the needs of 80,000 households.
New rapid delivery construction is a vital part of the programme and nearly 200 new homes were delivered in this way across the Dublin area in 2017. An additional 20 rapid projects involving in excess of 500 new homes are being advanced, many of which are scheduled for delivery in 2018.
The Deputy has issues regarding other types of housing and we are prepared to meet anyone for discussions. We have met many people involved in different types of construction to discuss various types of housing in which we could invest, provided they meet regulations and are finished to a high standard. New social housing construction schemes are being added continually to the pipeline, both through the local authorities and approved housing bodies. More than 3,800 houses are under construction on approximately 120 sites, and a total of 12,000 houses are planned on 700 sites. With sufficient drive, we will be able to deliver housing to help provide housing solutions every year.
Last year, more than 4,000 people left homelessness. We acknowledge, however, that this is not enough to deal with demand. However, we are beginning to move in the right direction and houses are being delivered. Last year, through the various methods of delivery, more than 7,000 new social houses were added. Together with private sector support, this helped 27,000 people find housing solutions. We will match and increase this figure in 2018.
Notwithstanding the progress being made, we must continue to drive on the process. We are allocating additional funding to do this in the coming years. If we can drive on the various schemes in place through local authorities and other partners and apply the necessary urgency to complete schemes as quickly as possible, we will be able to solve the housing problem.