Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (381)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

381. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of families who have in the year to date applied for local authority or similar housing, affordable housing and-or special needs housing, by county, with a view to responding at the earliest possible date to this need; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38689/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Details on the number of households qualified for social housing support in each local authority area is provided in the statutory Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA).

The most recent SSHA, conducted in June 2019, shows that 68,693 households were assessed as qualified for 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. Since 2016, the numbers have decreased from 91,600 to 68,693, a reduction of 25%.

Following is the link to the summary report for 2019 which includes breakdowns by each local authority, across a range of categories, including the Main Need for Social Housing Support which captures needs that a household may have based on a disability.

In relation to the questions posed by the Deputy regarding the number of families that have in the year to date applied for local authority or special needs housing, information of this specific type is not held by my Department. 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.

https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/sha_summary_2019_dec_2019_web_1.pdf

While the SSHA is normally conducted in or around June, given the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on local authorities and nature of the work involved in conducting the SSHA, the SSHA for 2020 was deferred to allow local authorities to continue to focus their resources on immediate priorities. However, recognising that the SSHA is a very important part of the evidence base for housing policy at both local authority and national level, I have directed local authorities to carry out the SSHA 2020 in November 2020.

Local authorities assess an application for social housing supports from people with disabilities in the same manner as other applications but take account of the specific needs outlined by that person in their application for supports. If specific adaptations are required to accommodate an applicant for social housing supports the applicant submits a report from an Occupational Therapist.

One of the key measures achieved in 2016 under the National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability was the establishment of Housing and Disability Steering Groups (HDSGs) in all housing authorities, to achieve a coordinated and integrated approach to meeting the housing needs of people with a disability at local level. These are chaired by Directors of Housing in each authority and include HSE and disability representative organisations. Each HDSG has prepared a local Strategic Plan for its own City/County area, to develop specific local strategies to meet identified and emerging need over the next five years. These Plans, along with the annual Summary of Social Housing Assessments, will allow local authorities to plan more strategically for the housing needs of people with a disability and will support the delivery of accommodation using all appropriate housing supply mechanisms.

In relation to affordable housing, the first project that will deliver affordable homes via the Serviced Sites Fund will be Boherboy Road in Cork City next year.

I intend to bring forward any necessary provisions to underpin the provision of affordable housing in a forthcoming Affordable Housing Bill which will be brought to Government in the coming weeks.