17 Meith 2016, 12.24

The Committee on Housing and Homelessness today published its report into the shortage of housing supply and the related problem of homelessness.

17th June 2016

On 14 April 2016, the Dáil agreed to establish a Special Committee - the Committee on Housing and Homelessness - to review the implications of the problems of housing and homelessness and to make recommendations in that regard. The Committee had its first meeting on 20 April 2016 and was required to present a final report to the Dáil on 17 June 2016.

Some of the main recommendations contained within the report include:

• The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government should consider the establishment of a Housing Procurement Agency with staff from the Housing Agency, NTMA, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, and the Department of Finance to assist local authorities and approved housing bodies to deliver their social housing programme through supports including funding and procurement.

• Subject to advice of the Attorney General, the Government should introduce legislation for a moratorium on home repossessions until such time as the Government’s proposals are in place.

• The Government should establish an off-balance sheet funding mechanism to provide additional investment in social and affordable housing.

• Reduce the Part 8 planning process from 8 to 6 weeks. Where there are unreasonable delays beyond the 6 weeks, emergency powers (such as the statutory provisions of section 179 of the Planning and Development Act) should be invoked. Also, encourage greater use of Part 8 for AHBs where appropriate as it is for local authorities for a period of 18 months.

Committee Chairman, John Curran TD, says: “The report we are launching today is one which our Committee believes makes an important contribution towards tackling the ongoing housing and homelessness crisis. Homelessness remains a very real issue in Ireland and as well as those people sleeping rough, it is also important to acknowledge the swathes of people who are not immediately identifiable as homeless – those who are waiting on housing lists; living in temporary, unsuitable accommodation and those desperately trying to find affordable rental accommodation.”

“This report represents our findings after hearing from many witnesses and accepting over 80 written submissions from the public and interested stakeholders. The focus of the Committee has been to identify how the obstacles that are currently impeding progress on the issues can be surmounted, as well as the specific actions that need to be taken to achieve urgent implementation of measures to address the problems involved. In so doing, we hope to inform and assist the actions planned under the Programme for a Partnership Government. In this report, the Committee identifies a number of recommendations which it believes are a necessary part of the national response to the challenge.”

“As Chairman, I would like to thank all those who appeared before the Committee during the course of our hearings and, in particular, all those who met with the Committee delegation during our visit to Focus Ireland. It is our hope that the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Mr. Simon Coveney TD, will consider carefully our recommendations in his future policy formulation.”

Read the report here


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