Alan Kelly getting real mileage out of social housing strategy

Minister for the Environment dripfeeding his €3.8bn pot for housing to local authorities

Not a week goes by without Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly revealing some new nugget from the €3.8 billion plan which aims to eliminate the social housing waiting list by 2020. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Not a week goes by without Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly revealing some new nugget from the €3.8 billion plan which aims to eliminate the social housing waiting list by 2020. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly is determined to get value out of the social housing strategy he published last November.

Not a week goes by without his revealing some new nugget from the €3.8 billion plan which aims to eliminate the social housing waiting list, now pushing towards the 100,000 mark, by 2020.

Sometimes he is flanked by Paudie Coffey, the Minister of State with Responsibility for Housing, and sometimes there’s also the relevant city or county mayor or council official. But always there is Mr Kelly making a new announcement about the amount of money he has managed to secure, and the number of homes it will provide.

Pot of €3.8bn

There was also some confusion, if not consternation, at county level on Tuesday when the allocation for each local authority area was announced. Most councils earlier this year published their figures for houses they intended to build by the end of 2017, and they didn’t quite match Mr Kelly’s.

For example, Dublin City Council, which has a housing waiting list of 20,000, last February set out details of homes it intended to start building – about 750 between now and 2017 at 18 sites in the city.

Mr Kelly’s announcement covered four of these sites, a total of 167 new homes. He moved to clear up the confusion on Tuesday afternoon. “This is the first announcement of many,” he said.

“Today was the first announcement of €312 million – there will be subsequent announcements as these sites are assessed and as the projects are assessed by my department. So I’ll be making continuous announcement in this area.”

So more good news can be expected from Mr Kelly for those on the waiting lists as summer rolls in – and presumably for the next 11 months, unless an election is called earlier. Project assessment is vital to ensure “value for money” for the taxpayer before housing is built, he said. Well if anyone can be trusted to get value out of something, it’s probably Alan Kelly.

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