Wednesday, 16 February 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
280. Dr. Upton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the plans he has to review the funding limits for the communal facilities grants for voluntary housing bodies; if his attention has been drawn to the current limits of €5,800 per unit are unrealistic, particularly in urban areas and especially in Dublin, due to current building costs; if he will indicate the capital funding which is to be made available to voluntary housing bodies in 2005; the number of units this would allow construction of and the way in which this would compare to 2004. [5296/05]
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. N. Ahern): Grants for communal facilities are available in projects providing accommodation under the voluntary housing capital loans and subsidy scheme, or the capital assistance scheme. While there is no decision to review the rate of assistance payable under the voluntary housing communal facilities grant scheme, it will be included when the grant rates available under the capital loans and subsidy and capital assistance schemes are next considered.
Expenditure under the voluntary housing schemes amounted to more than €180 million in 2004 compared with €92 million in 2000. Provisional figures show that 1,600 units were completed in 2004. The capital provisions — Exchequer and non-Exchequer — for 2005 for the various social and affordable housing programmes, at €1.9 billion, will focus on achieving maximum output under all programmes and it is expected that some 1,900 units will be completed under the voluntary housing schemes.
Local authority action plans will ensure the significant investment available for these programmes and the benefits of the new multi-annual capital envelope approach should achieve the desired affect in the long term by tackling real need and breaking cycles of disadvantage and dependency. Local authorities were asked to take account of the role of the voluntary and co-operative housing sector in preparation of these plans, to ensure an integrated approach to meeting housing needs.
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