My Department is focused on ensuring that additional social, affordable and private housing is delivered and that existing housing stock is utilised to its fullest extent including a targeted, effective and co-ordinated approach to identifying and tackling vacancy across Ireland.
In terms of affordable housing for purchase, the statutory basis for the delivery of affordable housing for purchase in the State is Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, which was commenced in June 2018.
Under my Department's Serviced Sites Fund (SSF), €310 million has been allocated to provide infrastructure to support the delivery of more affordable new homes for purchase or rent in those areas where local authorities have identified and affordability challenge and the viability to deliver homes and below open market purchase prices. Funding under the SSF is available for new-build homes on local authority land. With a maximum of €50,000 funding available per home, at least 6,200 more affordable homes, to buy or rent, can be facilitated. To date, Serviced Sites funding of €127 million has been approved in principle in support of 35 projects in 14 local authority areas, which will assist in the delivery of almost 3,200 affordable homes.
In relation to the rental sector, the Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, commits to improving security and affordability for renters. To achieve that, we are developing a Cost Rental model for delivery of housing that creates affordability for tenants and a sustainable model for construction and management of homes. Cost Rental is housing where the rents charged cover the cost of delivering, managing, and maintaining the homes only. Cost Rental is not intended to overlap with or replace traditional social housing for low-income households.
Work to outline the consistent and sustainable delivery of Cost Rental at scale is underway through an inter-departmental multi-agency Cost Rental Working Group, and is being assisted by an external research project sponsored by the European Investment Bank (EIB) on behalf of my Department. Furthermore, three initial Cost Rental projects are already being progressed, including 50 units at Enniskerry Road in Stepaside, that is currently under construction, while sites at Emmet Road, Inchicore (the former St Michael’s Estate) and Shanganagh Castle, Shankill, are at the design phase.
In terms of affordable housing more generally, I will outline my detailed plans in the near future, taking account of progress to date under the SSF, experience from these Cost Rental pilots, a number of other measures, as well as the input of key delivery partners.