Just one-third of promised social housing units for 2017 built

In year to date, only 809 social houses have been constructed, well short of 2,054 target

Just a third of social housing units planned to be built this year by the Department of Housing have been completed, according to latest construction statistics up to October.

Directly built social housing projects are running well behind the planned timeline, with only 809 new houses built in the first nine months, from a target of 2,054 for the year.

In the last two years, 1,460 social homes have been built by local authorities and approved housing bodies. In 2016, 651 new social housing units were finished, far short of the State’s target of 1,500.

Four local authorities – Offaly, Laois, Leitrim and Wicklow – have not delivered any completed social housing homes in the last two years.

The final three months will be “the heaviest quarter for delivery this year” a department spokesman said. The second half of this year saw a “significant ramping-up of the social housing building programme”.

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said the pace of developing social housing was “glacial”.

Mr Ó Broin said the delivery of projects was “happening at a snail’s pace” and said it was clear the Government would not meet “even these modest targets” for the year.

Rebuilding Ireland

There are 772 social housing projects currently in the Government’s “Rebuilding Ireland” construction plan. In total the projects would deliver 12,293 social housing units, but only 12 per cent of units have been completed to date.

Nearly 60 per cent (7,173) of the planned units are not yet at construction stage, and a quarter (2,955) do not have planning permission.

So far this year, 198 social housing houses or apartments have been built in Dublin City Council’s area. The units were delivered by the local authority directly, and approved housing bodies like Clúid Housing and the Peter McVerry Trust.

In Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, just 10 social houses were finished this year, and in Fingal County Council 90 units were completed.

Seven local authorities have not built any social housing projects this year: Clare, Cork City, Laois, Leitrim, Offaly, Sligo, and Wicklow.

The construction figures do not count “Part V” social housing that private developments are required to provide to local authorities.

‘Voids’ scheme

The Department of Housing has promised to provide 26,000 new social housing units by the end of 2021. These figures will include newly built properties and vacant local authority housing refurbished under a State “voids” scheme, which has funded 8,000 voids since 2014.

However, the majority of voids refurbished under the State scheme or by councils themselves in the four Dublin local authorities last year were classed as “short-term” voids, vacant for less than six months.

Out of 2,232 voids refurbished by Dublin local authorities to date since 2016, just 448 were long-term vacant units. Housing experts and opposition TDs have claimed the inclusion of short-term void refurbishments in the department’s new housing supply targets is manipulating the figures.

There are 99,555 individuals currently on social housing waiting lists, according to the most recent statistics.