I am the director of housing and community services at Fingal County Council and my colleague, Ms Mary Egan, is accompanying me. I thank the Chairman and members for inviting us here this morning. Fingal is the second largest of the four Dublin authorities and Fingal County Council has the third biggest local authority catchment area in the country. The results from the 2016 census indicate that Fingal is Ireland's fastest-growing county, with the youngest population, and Balbriggan is the youngest town in the country. We have a population of just under 300,000 and that has increased by 22,000 since the last census. This 8% increase is the highest of any county or city in the past five years and it is more than twice the average national rate of increase.
The provision of social housing for those unable to provide housing for themselves is a strategic high priority for Fingal and is a big challenge, particularly in light of the significant increase in population. There are currently 7,865 eligible applicants for social housing support on our housing list and our aim is for every household that has a need to be able to access an affordable home of good quality, suited to their needs in a secure environment. It is important to note that despite the challenging operating environment over the past ten years, there has been a 60% increase in the social housing stock provided by Fingal in the area between 2006 and 2016.
The council is very proactive in the delivery of social housing units and has provided 1,408 families with social housing support through a range of delivery mechanisms under the social housing strategy for 2015 to 2017. The council has already exceeded the targets set in this strategy and delivery outputs on our target of 1,376 units stand at 102% at the end of June 2017. In addition, the council has a high-level land management and activation group chaired by our chief executive. The council was allocated €81 million under the housing strategy 2020 to fund our delivery up to the end of 2017. To date, we have spent €85 million and we expect to spend a further €66 million before year-end, bringing the total expenditure to €150 million, versus the initial allocation of €81 million. That additional funding is being provided to us by the Department. Based on current approvals in the pipeline, it is projected a further €120 million will be required during 2018. The total expenditure requirement from 2015 to 2018 is therefore expected to be approximately €270 million.
We have put much time, effort and focus into managing projects through to completion in our construction programme and it is supported by a strong project management process. That may seem basic but housing delivery is a complex process and putting a relentless focus on all stages of the process has proved successful for us. A major element of our strategy has been bringing forward plans to the elected members on a regular basis for building social housing units on land in our ownership. We have brought more proposals through in the past 18 months than we had been in a position to do over the previous six years or so. This process has ensured a continuous pipeline of planned units for construction across the county and it is heartening to see the council back building houses again. There is a significant construction pipeline already under way, with 23 active social housing sites across the county delivering 630 social houses over the next two years. Construction is under way on 160 houses, with a further 219 at tender stage and 222 at pre-planning. It is also important to note we have 36 approved housing bodies active across the county, working with us to support housing delivery.
The council owns significant landbanks at Donabate, Mulhuddart, Cappaghfinn, Castlelands and Hacketstown and is in the process of developing land management plans for these sites, which have the potential to deliver 3,200 housing units over the medium term. In line with policy, these developments will be of mixed tenure with social, affordable, cost-rental, co-operative housing etc. The council will consider various models of delivery for these sites based on individual characteristics. The council has received infrastructural funding though the local infrastructure housing activation fund, LIHAF, which will help us bring these sites forward for development. The council has undertaken an ambitious acquisitions programme to acquire properties on the open market. A number of bulk purchases of turnkey units have been completed. To date, we have acquired 286 properties and the Housing Agency is in the process of acquiring a further 92 properties on behalf of Fingal.
Activity in the Part V area is increasing with the upturn in construction. The council proactively works to seek early on-site delivery of units during Part V negotiations with developers. With planning permissions in the pipeline, there is potential to yield more than 2,000 social units under Part V in the coming years. The council is also working with a number of developers across the county to bring forward property for leasing. We have been working with the Department on the development of a new form of social lease that would enable us to develop those proposals.
Homelessness has emerged as a major issue across the Dublin region and we are working with our partners in the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, approved housing bodies and the Housing Agency to deliver long-term sustainable housing solutions. Family hubs in Fingal will provide quality family accommodation as an alternative to commercial hotels as we work to provide long-term tenancy solutions. We are also using the housing assistance programme in that regard and it is working very well in Fingal. It is important to note a total of 175 households have had their homeless circumstances alleviated up to the end of June 2017 and in 2016 we addressed the housing support need of 274 households with regard to their homeless status. We have provided 243 homeless HAP tenancies since the initiative was introduced and 99 mainstream HAP tenancies since March this year.
An important part of our work relates to private developments in the county and we have 49 active housing sites delivering housing across the county by private developers, and these will also attract Part V elements in time. A strategic part of the new Fingal development plan is to build on previous successes and strengthen our strategic advantage as a county. The recently adopted development plan has made provision for housing supply over the lifetime of the plan, with 1,700 ha of land zoned for housing in the county. Fingal County Council has ambitious plans for growth in the development areas identified by the metro north economic zoning designations. The recent zoning of this land reflects the importance of this infrastructural investment for both Swords and the entire county and will support the development of new towns and urban districts, while providing for a significant level of employment and residential development.
Fingal secured €26 million under the local infrastructure housing activation fund and there is the potential to deliver 10,300 units in the long term, with 2,500 to be delivered by 2021.
We participated in the national working group on the development of a vacant homes plan, which is due to be published. A lot of work on behalf of Fingal County Council has gone into this strategy. We worked for a number of months prior to the vacant homes initiative being launched and we identified from census figures that 3,000 homes were listed as vacant in the county. Having done an exercise on those, we established that 361 residential properties were possibly vacant out of 3,000, with the remaining 3,000 being commercial accommodation or stock that was under way in the 49 active private developments or the 23 active sites that Fingal has. They were actually not vacant properties. We carried out a number of investigations into the level of vacant property and a pilot visit we did identified 74 properties that were potentially vacant. Those properties were inspected on an individual basis and only 13 were actually vacant. At this point in time, the existing data have proven to be unreliable in that regard. We have now appointed a company that is surveying all our streets in Dublin 15 and Swords to ensure we have tracked all potential vacant property. We also have a publicity campaign in place.
From a derelict sites perspective, the CPO process is long and complicated. We have instigated what is working out to be a successful approach in which we have examined all the properties on our CPO list that are potentially suitable for housing and we are engaging directly with the owners of the properties. Rather than using the CPO process, we have negotiated to work with ten owners who are prepared to make the property available. The numbers are small but the approach is working for us.
In terms of void property, we manage and maintain 4,800 homes. Our unoccupied stock at any point in time is less than 1% of our total stock, which is a normal churn in terms of vacancy. The approach we take to the management of our void properties is very significant.
Over the next 14 years the population of Dublin is forecast to grow by 22% to 1.63 million. This will place further pressure on services but it also presents an opportunity and economic asset. It is essential that Fingal continues to grow in order to support the sustainability of the Dublin region. Fingal County Council has embarked on an ambitious programme of social housing delivery that will see the delivery of more than 10,000 housing units of mixed tenure in the medium term. As for private sector housing, there is significant provision in our development plan to meet these needs. There has been a lot of criticism from many sources that the local authorities have been too slow to react to the current housing crisis. In the case of Fingal, we have mobilised comprehensively, have good support from the elected members and departmental officials and our staff have stepped up to the mark in an exceptional manner.