The statutory responsibility for the delivery of social and affordable housing, including the ongoing maintenance of social housing stock, is a matter for the local authority sector. I have no plans to change this at this time, given the fact that the sector is successfully delivering social housing in support of the targets set down under Rebuilding Ireland. This was evident in the Social Housing Output indicative figures published last month, showing that nearly 26,000 households had their social housing need met in 2017.
I expect 2018 to be another strong year for the delivery of social homes, while the introduction this year of the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, the Affordable Purchase Scheme and the Affordable Rental Scheme will see important advances in these areas. The Affordable Purchase Scheme will see affordable homes built initially on State land, in co-operation with local authorities. With the Affordable Rental Scheme, a pilot project is being undertaken with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, in conjunction with the Housing Agency and an Approved Housing Body (AHB), using publicly-owned land. To further assist in this work, I announced following my review of Rebuilding Ireland, that Minister of State Damien English will lead a new delivery team in my Department working with local authorities and AHBs on social housing delivery. This will further add to the impetus already in place for the delivery of much needed social housing homes across the country, by local authorities and AHBs.
These initiatives being advanced with local authorities as well as AHBs further illustrate that the model we now have is delivering across the key thematic areas of social and affordable housing in line with the objectives under Rebuilding Ireland. Accordingly, the establishment of a new delivery structure is unnecessary.
There remains further significant potential for the delivery of social and affordable homes from the State's land bank. While I am continuing to work with the local authority Chief Executives on this, I have established a dedicated Residential Land Management and Development Group to oversee this important work.
From a longer-term strategic perspective, as part of Project Ireland 2040, the Government announced on 16 February its intention to establish a new National Regeneration and Development Agency, which will have a role in managing the State's wider publicly-owned land bank to ensure that overall development needs, including housing, are met. The new Agency will work closely with local authorities, Government Departments, and other State and semi-State bodies to secure the best use of public lands and ensure the delivery on the objectives of the National Planning Framework and the National Development Plan.