Homeless Persons Data

Ceisteanna (242)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

242. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of homeless families in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27093/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level.  Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of accommodation and related services for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities.

Monthly homelessness data reports are produced by housing authorities using the Pathway Accommodation & Support System (PASS), the single integrated national data information system on State-funded emergency accommodation arrangements overseen by housing authorities.  My Department collates this information into monthly national homeless reports, which are available on my Department’s website at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/homelessness/other/homelessness-data.

While these reports identify the number of  adults utilising State-funded emergency accommodation at the county level, details in relation to families and dependants is only available on a regional basis; consequently the specific data sought in the Question is not available in my Department and is a matter for the relevant housing authority, in this case Kildare County Council.

Local Authority Housing Provision

Ceisteanna (243)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

243. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the extent to which planning procedures can be expedited to facilitate the building of extra local authority houses with particular reference to the need to make a serious impact on the numbers on local authority waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27094/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 amended section 179 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 relating to the arrangements for the approval by local authorities of their own development proposals, often referred to as the Part 8 process. This amendment required a supporting amendment to the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 which was provided for in the Planning and Development (Strategic Housing Development) Regulations 2017.

Under the new arrangements, which came into operation with effect from 3 July 2017, the maximum timeframe for the determination of local authority-own development proposals is now 20 weeks from the date of issue of the proposals for public consultation by the Chief Executive, whereas previously there was no maximum timeframe. 

These reforms provide greater certainty for local authorities around the decision timelines associated with the various steps in the approval process of such own-development proposals, including proposals for social housing projects and infrastructure servicing both public and private development.

National Planning Framework

Ceisteanna (244)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

244. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the extent to which facilities are available to meet the housing needs of the indigenous rural population throughout rural Ireland by way of ensuring an adequate number of houses in keeping with good planning principles to facilitate in so far as is possible the indigenous needs of those living in rural areas thereby reducing the impact on housing lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27095/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Project Ireland 2040, within which the National Planning Framework (NPF) sits, will ensure that we maintain the fabric of our rural communities, support the growth of rural towns while recognising the need for the countryside to continue to be a living and lived-in landscape, and invest to support job creation.  The NPF is a national plan, with a high-level ambition of creating a single vision, a shared set of goals for every community across the country, and to deliver on these in a way that makes sense for our communities, rural and urban alike.

The Framework recognises the need for sustainable and co-ordinated development of our towns, villages and rural communities.  To this end, Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies will also be developed, which will link strategic national planning and investment with regional-scale physical planning and the local economic and community development functions of local authorities.

In addition, the Action Plan for Rural Development, published on 23 January 2017, takes a whole-of-Government approach, led by my colleague, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, to the economic and social development of rural Ireland and acts as an overarching structure for the co-ordination and implementation of rural initiatives across Government Departments and other public bodies.

A high proportion of overall national house-building is taking place in rural areas, pointing to the degree to which indigenous communities in rural areas are being facilitated in meeting their housing needs locally, with a degree of overspill development from cities and towns as well.

Every statutory City and County Development Plan, and by extension every Local Area Plan, includes comprehensive policies for provision of housing needs at local level. These policies are informed by my Department’s 2005 statutory Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Sustainable Rural Housing, which are designed to ensure that planning authorities strike a balance between managing the future of rural areas from a development perspective and at the same time enabling housing requirements of rural communities to be met. 

The Guidelines set out how planning authorities should frame their development plan policies for the different types of rural areas which may exist within the development plan area.  These types of areas range from rural areas close to cities and towns at risk of overspill development and more remote areas with low levels of development pressure and consistent patterns of population decline.  The Guidelines also set out policy advice on issues such as access to appropriate wastewater treatment facilities, potential impacts of the development on groundwater, landscape, natural and cultural heritage and addressing road safety issues (e.g. frontage onto national roads).

Following engagement between the European Commission and my Department regarding the 2013 European Court of Justice ruling in the "Flemish Decree" case, a working group, comprising representatives from my Department and planning authorities, was established in May 2017 to review and, where necessary, recommend changes to the 2005 Guidelines, with a view to ensuring that rural housing policies and objectives contained in local authority development plans comply with the relevant provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

This Working Group concluded its deliberations in September 2017 and taking account of the Group's analysis and recommended outcome, my Department has been engaging with the Commission on the matter, with a view to issuing a further circular letter to planning authorities as soon as possible, setting out revisions to the 2005 Guidelines that take account of the relevant ECJ judgment.

I am satisfied that a sufficiently flexible and robust policy framework is in place to ensure that rural communities can meet their housing needs and that the National Planning Framework  reinforces this.