Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Questions (862)

Darragh O'Brien


862. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the affordable housing scheme; the number of units approved to date; the amount spent under the scheme; the estimated date of completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29997/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 was commenced in June 2018 to provide a statutory basis for the delivery of affordable housing for purchase.

I signed regulations in respect of the making of Schemes of Priority on 12 March 2019 and these were issued to local authorities on 22 March 2019.  The purpose of a Scheme of Priority is to set out the affordable purchase arrangements at local authority level.  This includes the methodology that will be applied to determine the order of priority to be accorded to eligible households where the demand for such affordable dwellings exceeds the number available.  All 31 local authorities have submitted draft Schemes of Priority to my Department and, to date, I have approved 16, which were adopted by their respective Councils. My Department is currently following up with the remaining local authorities to ensure that the remaining Schemes of Priority are finalised.

Further regulations are currently in development, specifically in relation to the assessment of eligibility of households for affordable housing and any income limits to be set. Once these regulations have been made, associated guidance will issue to local authorities.

To support the delivery of affordable homes to buy or rent the Government has committed €310 million under the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF), from 2019 to 2021 to provide infrastructure support for the delivery of over 6,000 dwellings.  The first call for proposals under the SSF in June 2018 was specifically targeted at 11 local authorities, where the greatest affordability pressures exists.  In December 2018, approval in principle was announced for funding for 10 infrastructure projects, in Dublin and Cork, with an allocated budget of €43 million. This will support the delivery of approximately 1,400 affordable homes. The overall cost and the timing of delivery for these projects is contingent upon the completion of planning and procurement in the first instance, and local authorities are working to achieve delivery as quickly as possible.

After this first call, local authorities were asked to complete further financial/economic assessments of each of their areas to assess whether provision of affordable homes is economically viable. A second call for proposals under the SSF issued on 9 April 2019 to 19 local authorities, based on the aforementioned economic assessments submitted. 31 responses were received from 15 local authorities under this call and, following the completion of the assessments of these,  I intend to issue approvals in the coming weeks.

The SSF will also play an important role in making cost rental projects as affordable as possible. My Department is developing a national policy approach to Cost Rental. This is being informed by the learning from two pilot cost rental projects, one of which, at Enniskerry Road in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, is just commencing construction, with first homes anticipated to come on stream from 2021, with a second, at the former St. Michael's Estate in Inchicore, at an earlier stage.

My Department is also engaging with the Land Development Agency (LDA), which is examining the potential to deliver Cost Rental homes at scale from its land portfolio and the broader State land bank. The initial portfolio of sites that the Agency has access to will have the potential, over the short to medium term, to deliver 3,000 affordable homes in line with the Government policy of achieving 30% affordable housing on State lands generally.

There is also capacity to deliver up to 2,350 further affordable homes on mainly publicly owned lands supported through the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF).  An additional c. 5,600 homes will benefit from a LIHAF-related cost reduction, some of which are already coming to market. Details of these LIHAF schemes and their locations are available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at


These schemes will complement other key Government affordability initiatives, such as the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, and the Help to Buy Scheme, which have supported some 13,000 households.