Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (2998)

Bernard Durkan


2998. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will consider the replacement of the current policy of HAP and rent supports in the greater Dublin area of up to €2,000 with one-off capital expenditure on the building of affordable and local authority housing directly by local authorities (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34649/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Over the course of the 6-year Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan, the Government is committed to meeting the housing needs of over 138,000 households. This will be achieved through blended delivery, involving increasing the social housing stock by over 50,000 homes, through build, acquisition and leasing programmes, and supporting some 88,000 further households through the Housing Assistance Payment and the Rental Accommodation Scheme.

Over the period 2016-2018, the housing needs of some 91,000 households were supported under current programmes, including the HAP and RAS schemes. This figure includes continuing to provide support to those already in homes supported under the programmes concerned, and also the additional tenancies established during that period. If the funding provided for these 91,000 households had been transferred to capital expenditure, to support building or buying homes, it would have secured some 5,500 homes, leaving no resources available to support the other 85,500 households. Almost €20 billion would be required to provide a new build local authority home for those 90,000 households.

Rebuilding Ireland is working, with annual social housing delivery targets exceeded in 2017 and again in 2018. By end Q1 2019, over 78,000 additional social housing supports had already been provided under the Plan.

In addition, affordable housing for purchase in the State is now being brought forward under Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, which I commenced last June.

One of the mechanisms available to local authorities to help them deliver affordable housing options is the Serviced Site Fund (SSF). Under the SSF, €310 million is being made available over a three year period, from 2019 to 2021, to support the delivery of infrastructure on local authority sites, which will deliver over 6,000 affordable homes to buy or rent.

Under the first SSF call, I issued approval in principle in December 2018 for funding for 10 infrastructure projects in Dublin and Cork with €43 million funding, which will support the delivery of 1,400 affordable homes.

The overall cost and timing of delivery for these projects is contingent upon the completion of planning and procurement in the first instance, and local authorities are working to achieve delivery as quickly as possible, with the first tranche of affordable homes expected to be delivered next year.

Following the first call under the SSF, and in order to target affordable interventions, local authorities were asked to complete financial/economic assessments of each of their sites to assess whether the provision of affordable homes is economically viable. Local authorities were also asked to assess the broader housing affordability within their area.

A second call for proposals under the SSF issued to 19 local authorities based on the aforementioned economic assessments. The closing date for submissions was 17 May 2019 and 31 submissions were received back from 15 local authorities. These are currently being assessed by my Department and I intend to issue approvals under this second call in the coming weeks.

I am confident that the actions, targets and resources available under Rebuilding Ireland provide a strong platform for delivering homes for those who need them.