Government allocates funds for 800 social houses
SOME €100 million has been allocated by the Government to provide more than 800 social houses through local authorities and voluntary housing bodies for the next two years.
The 808 houses will be the last built under the current Government and will largely be used to house the homeless, elderly and people with disabilities.
Approximately 100,000 households are currently on the housing waiting list, an increase of almost 80 per cent in the last four years. Few of these people will end up in new council houses.
Instead they will be accommodated in rented housing, either directly from landlords or through long-term leasing of private housing by local authorities.
This year, €20 million is being provided for the Social Housing Leasing Initiative and €135 million will be available for the Rental Accommodation Scheme.
Despite the large number of empty houses, Minister of State for Housing Jan O’Sullivan said there remained a need for some newly constructed social housing, particularly for the more vulnerable people on the housing list.
“Everyone knows that Government finances are very restricted. As housing Minister I am determined that the much-reduced capital budget available is targeted at those most in need,” Ms O’Sullivan said.
Almost two-thirds of the money, €65 million, will go directly to local authorities for the purchase of an estimated 246 houses and the construction of a further 185 houses. The houses to be constructed will not be in the traditional form of council house estates but will be peppered throughout communities, Ms O’Sullivan said.
“Most construction projects are infill development in existing communities, which has the additional benefit of contributing to the vibrancy of a community, enhancing streetscapes and eliminating the risk of antisocial behaviour in neighbourhoods,” she said.
The remaining €35 million is being allocated to the voluntary housing sector for the provision of 377 housing units across 30 local authorities.
These voluntary housing bodies, often in conjunction with the Health Service Executive, provided specialist housing with a range of services and supports to tenants, which could enable older people to continue living independent lives at home, Ms O’Sullivan said.
“Adding 377 new housing units to the voluntary stock will have a positive impact for a lot of people and allow elderly people, in particular, to continue to live in and contribute to their own community.”
Of the 808 houses, 101 will be built in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, 93 of which will be built by the county council. This compares with 53 in Dublin city, 62 in Limerick city, 53 in the Cork County Council area and 42 in south Dublin.
The lowest number of houses will be built in Leitrim, with just three for the entire county, followed by south Tipperary, where six houses will be built.
A spokesman for the department said there was no particular reason Dún Laoghaire was getting so many more houses than other areas were.