Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (59)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

59. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will consider specific measures (details supplied) to address the ongoing housing shortage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45181/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

As set out in the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, fixing the Irish housing market and rebuilding the capacity to deliver social and affordable housing across the country requires a multi-faceted approach, which address both the short term immediate needs of families and individuals whilst simultaneously delivering long term solutions. This flexible and responsive approach is the hallmark of Rebuilding Ireland and it is working.

This year we will deliver more than 10,000 new social housing homes through build, acquisition and leasing mechanisms across the country. Next year this figure will be in excess of 11,000. To put this into context, this would represent an almost 100% increase on the delivery of social homes in just four years, compared with the delivery of 5,714 homes through the same mechanisms in 2016.

In addition, the Government's National Development Plan 2018-2027, sets out the Government's commitment to deliver 112,000 social housing homes out to 2027, supported by capital funding of €11.6 billion.

This progress is having a tangible affect on the lives of thousands of households and the most recently available Summary of Social Housing Assessments indicated that the number of households on the social housing waiting list has decreased by 25%.

However, we must also ensure that we meet the housing needs of families and individuals in the short term. At the end of Quarter 2 of 2019, almost sixty thousand households (59,961) have been supported through the Housing Assistance Payment and Rental Accommodation Scheme since the start of Rebuilding Ireland.

These supports are vital and provide security to households and enables them to remain in their homes, under the rights afforded by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (as amended), until such time as they move onto either a social home with a local authority or Approved Housing Body or alternatively into the private market, facilitated by additional measures, such as the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan and the Help to Buy Scheme, which have helped address the housing needs of some 15,000 households.

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 and I envisage that at least 6,200 affordable homes can be provided through this mechanism. 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.

Lastly, the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) was designed to activate housing supply by putting in place the enabling public infrastructure necessary to ensure that large scale development could take place on key sites in urban areas of high housing demand. Funding of €200 million was originally made available under LIHAF, of which €150 million would be funded by the Exchequer with local authorities to match fund €50 million. 30 projects received final approval, at a total cost of €195.71 million, of which €146.69 million will be funded by the Exchequer with local authorities funding the balance. These projects will stimulate development of approximately 20,000 housing units across 14 local authorities and approximately 7,800 of these homes will be offered a discount on open market prices. To date, according to information provided by Local Authorities, 1,678 housing units have been delivered including 785 cost reduced units.