I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 71 together.
The Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness is firmly focused on increasing supply and the priority for Government attention is to support those in society with the greatest housing access and affordability challenges. In that context, the focus is on meeting the housing needs of those in the lower-income categories, particularly those in need of social housing supports and other households that are most challenged from an affordability perspective, such as first-time buyers. The significant progress being made in these areas is outlined on the Rebuilding Ireland website at www.rebuildingireland.ie.
In Budget 2018, the social housing allocation was increased to over €6 billion for the lifespan of Rebuilding Ireland , with a target of 50,000 social housing homes to be delivered by 2021, and some 87,000 households to be supported through the Housing Assistance Payment Scheme and the Rental Accommodation Scheme. In 2017, almost 26,000 households had their social housing need met, significantly ahead of the target set.
I recently wrote to all local authorities, including Laois County Council, setting out their individual social housing targets across build, acquisition and leasing for 2018 and also for 2018-2021. Details of these are available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following link: http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-social-housing-delivery-targets-for-local-authorities-2018-2021/.
In respect of social housing build targets for 2018, a strong pipeline is already in place for local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies to deliver on these targets. The 2018 build target is for the delivery of 4,969 additional social housing homes, including 3,819 local authority and AHB build units. The Quarter 4 2017 Construction Status Report, which is available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following link http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-social-housing-construction-status-report-q4-2017/ , provides details of projects on a local authority by authority basis.
I announced new housing affordability measures in January of this year. We are targeting both affordable purchase and rental units to be delivered initially from local authority housing land-banks, with the potential to deliver more than 3,000 new affordable homes to buy or rent initially, with a target delivery of at least 10,000 new affordable homes in the medium to longer term.
Delivery of affordable homes will require local authorities to maximise the potential delivery of new homes from their land bank. This may include mixed-tenure developments on appropriate sites and my Department will continue to work with Laois County Council and all local authorities with regard to any social and mixed-tenure housing proposals that they bring forward, in order to maximise delivery and also harness appropriate opportunities to deliver on additional build units in 2018.