Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (684)

Bernard Durkan


684. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the extent to which the impact of a sizeable capital expenditure on the building of local authority houses is required nationally including affordable houses for sale to eligible families as opposed to the various modes of assistance available through rent support, HAP or other interim measures which have an annual impact as opposed to a once off capital investment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37728/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Over the course of the 6-year Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan, the Government is committed to meeting the housing needs of over 138,000 households. This will be achieved through blended delivery, involving increasing the social housing stock by over 50,000 homes, through build, acquisition and leasing programmes, and supporting some 88,000 further households through the Housing Assistance Payment and the Rental Accommodation Scheme.

During the period 2016-2018, the housing needs of some 91,000 households were supported under current programmes, including the HAP and RAS schemes. This figure includes continuing to provide support to those already in homes supported under the programmes concerned, and also the additional tenancies established during that period. If the funding provided for these 91,000 households had been transferred to capital expenditure, to support building or buying homes, it would have secured some 5,500 homes, leaving no resources available to support the other 85,500 households. Almost €20 billion would be required to provide a new build local authority home for those 91,000 households. 

In 2019, a further 22,388 households will benefit through these current funded housing delivery schemes, meaning that with the 2019 budget provision of €712 million across the 3 schemes, a total of €1.88 billion, over the 4 years 2016 to 2019, will have ensured that up to 112,000 families and individuals will have had their housing need met.

In addition, the provision of affordable housing, either to buy or rent, is being facilitated by the €310 million Serviced Sites Fund (SSF) that runs from 2019 to 2021. The fund is to provide facilitating infrastructure on local authority sites so that more affordable discounted homes can be delivered.  I envisage a maximum amount of SSF funding of €50,000 per home and, on this basis, at least 6,200 affordable homes can be provided.

Two calls have been made under the Serviced Sites Fund to date, and approval in principle has been granted for funding of approximately €127 million, to support almost 3,200 homes.  While more focused on urban areas, and building at scale on local authority sites, the fund remains in place for the provision of housing in all locations where there is a proven affordability challenge.  It is anticipated that further calls under the Serviced Sites Fund will be made in due course.

It should be noted that in addition to these new homes being made available at a significant discount on market norms, households have also been supported through other key Government affordability initiatives.  These include, for example, the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan and the Help to Buy Scheme, which have helped address the housing needs of some 15,000 households.

I am confident that the actions, targets and resources available under Rebuilding Ireland provide a strong platform for meeting the range of housing needs that exist nationally.