The Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund was designed to activate housing supply by putting in place enabling public infrastructure to facilitate large-scale development on key sites.
I have given final approval for 30 projects under the fund and these will stimulate development of approximately 20,000 housing units across 14 local authorities in areas of high housing need by 2021. This will not only mean a significant increase in supply of housing to the market but also increase the supply of social housing under Part V. In addition, 13 of the projects will support the development of housing on State-owned sites which will provide additional social and affordable housing.
Under Pillar 3 of the Rebuilding Ireland plan, LIHAF is designed to specifically address the issue of housing supply and that increase in supply is an important factor in terms of moderating house prices. In addition, the infrastructure being built is all public infrastructure for public use and the new roads, bridges and parks that are being built will bring benefits to the wider communities in those areas. I have also sought to leverage the State’s investment in public infrastructure under LIHAF to achieve a dividend in terms of making the housing on the associated sites more affordable than it would otherwise have been.
The target referred to by the Deputy was part of the original circular letter which issued in August 2016 with the call for proposals. However, this was subsequently amended in September 2016 to allow for project-specific cost reductions and affordability schemes. The clarification recognised that the original blanket requirement was quite narrow and did not allow for appropriate calibration against the level of investment in infrastructure and therefore could negatively affect the viability of housing projects, particularly in Dublin where the supply issue is most urgent.
Local authorities were required to secure local agreements with developers and landowners in advance of finalising grant agreements with my Department. These local agreements set out commitments from developers and landowners with regard to housing delivery and an appropriate cost reduction on housing. Summary details of these commitments were published on the Rebuilding Ireland website in March 2018 and are available to view, together with the circular and clarification, at the following link: http://rebuildingireland.ie/lihaf/.