Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Questions (59)

Martin Heydon


59. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the progress made on the delivery of serviced sites under national objective 18b to ensure the provision of affordable houses nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37676/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Local authorities already have powers to make low-cost sites available to individuals, who are qualified for social housing support, and also to voluntary or co-operative not-for-profit housing associations.

More broadly, 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.

The affordable dwelling purchase arrangements under which homes will be made available will be based on the relevant provisions of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, which were commenced in June 2018. Further regulations will be put in place over the coming months and when the operational procedures for the programme are finalised, and before dwellings are made available for purchase under the scheme, a programme of communication will be undertaken by my Department.

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 over 13,000 households.