The 2019 Summary of Social Housing Assessments shows that 68,693 households were assessed as qualified and being in need of social housing support. This represents a decrease of 3,165 households or 4.4% on the last assessment in June 2018. Indeed, since the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan was launched in 2016, the numbers have decreased from 91,600 to 68,693, a reduction of 25%.
It should be noted that the SSHA is a point in time snapshot of the demand for social housing support in each local authority area and does not necessarily reflect the dynamic nature of entry to and exit from the housing waiting lists. Local authorities have provided over 90,000 social housing supports in the period of Rebuilding Ireland to date.
The undertaking of the SSHA assists in providing a more strategic picture of the dynamics of the numbers applying for social housing supports and emerging trends. The purpose of the SSHA is to capture the total number of households qualified for social housing support across the country whose social housing need is not being met, in order to better understand the level of need for such support. The data garnered through the Summary will allow my Department to target the delivery of social housing supports under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness to those most in need.
Qualified households on social housing waiting lists can have a wide variety of housing needs and it is therefore important that there is a blend of social housing delivery mechanisms available that can meet those diverse needs in the most effective manner. Under Rebuilding Ireland, the aim is to meet the housing needs of some 138,000 households over the 6 year period 2016 to 2021, and provision is made for this to be achieved through a mix of different mechanisms. These include build, acquisition and leasing schemes delivered by local authorities or in partnership with Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs), the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme and the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS).
Over the period of Rebuilding Ireland, 2016 to end Quarter 3 2019, over 90,000 additional households across the country had their housing needs met. In 2018, just over 27,100 households were supported, 6% ahead of the overall target for the year. We are targeting over 27,000 again this year and next.
In 2019 alone, 10,000 new social homes will be delivered utilising these methods, including 6,545 build homes delivered by Local Authorities nationwide, in partnership with Approved Housing Bodies. Looking to 2020 we expect to see 11,000 new social homes delivered showing the increased capacity now in the system to deliver homes for those who need them.
Earlier this year, I published the 2019 targets for social housing delivery broken down by local authority, and also broken into Build, Acquisition, Leasing, HAP and RAS. Each quarter, I publish progress against those targets, and this morning I published the Quarter 3 2019 outputs, showing 66% delivery to end September. This data is available on my Department’s website at the following link: https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordable/overall-social-housing-provision.
It is recognised that local authority building activity and the pace of such delivery must continue to increase. Against this background, additional resources, including technical resources, which during the inactive years had been lost to local authorities, continue to be replenished. Streamlined approval processes for capital projects have been put in place, including a revised single stage approval process. A range of supports have also been put in place including:
- Internal Layouts for Social Housing;
- Employers Requirements;
- Volumetric Frameworks;
- Rapid Framework
- Guidance Notes, including on Turnkey Delivery;
- Planning Reforms;
- Heights & Apartment Guidelines
- A newly restructured Housing Delivery Office is being advanced and work is ongoing between my Department and the LGMA in this regard.
The blend of delivery will vary across areas depending on local circumstances. However, my message to local authorities has been consistent and it is a message that every possible effort must be made to, at minimum, achieve our targets, if not exceed them. The range of delivery schemes, funding and resources are in place to support this. I will continue to engage proactively with local authorities to ensure that any impediments to progress are addressed.