Thursday, 9 July 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
748. Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of applicants at the end of June 2009 on the social housing lists and affordable housing lists in each local authority area in tabular form; the total of each category nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29395/09]
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy Michael Finneran): The number of households on a local authority’s waiting list fluctuates as households on the list are allocated housing and new households apply for housing support. My Department does not hold information on the number of people on waiting lists in local authorities. A statutory assessment of housing need is carried out every three years by all housing authorities in accordance with the terms of the Housing Act 1988. The last assessment took place in 2008 and indicated that there were 56,249 households in need of social housing support, an increase of some 30% on these corresponding figure in 2005. Further information regarding the assessments is available on my Department’s website, www.environ.ie, including a breakdown of the net need figure by housing authority. My Department does not collect national figures on the number of people applying for affordable housing. The management of affordable housing lists remains a matter primarily for the housing authorities themselves.
749. Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the building plans and quantity of social houses and affordable houses for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011 by local authority area; the funding set aside for such plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29396/09]
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy Michael Finneran): A total of €1.415 million in voted Exchequer capital and current funding is being provided for the various social housing and affordable housing programmes in 2009. The provision for 2010 and 2011 will be finalised in the context of the Estimates processes for each of those years. As part of a further restructuring of the Social Housing Investment Programme, I recently announced new arrangements for the delivery of social housing under which housing authorities may enter into long-term leases of private dwellings as a means of meeting housing need. The new leasing initiative, under which authorities will procure properties on long term leases of 10 to 20 years, is designed further to widen the sources of supply and thereby help create a flexible range of delivery mechanisms for local authorities to meet social housing needs. It is expected that through this measure at least 2,000 additional homes will be procured this year. Taking all the social housing programmes together, including those of the voluntary and co-operative housing sector, and having regard to the capacity to access suitable housing available in the current housing market, including through the new long-term leasing initiative, some 7,000 completions are expected to be achieved this year. The use of leasing arrangements in the coming years in the provision of social housing will allow for a substantial increase in the number of households who will have their housing needs met compared with what would otherwise be possible without such a restructuring of the Social Housing Investment Programme, given the prevailing budgetary and economic climate. In relation to affordable housing, it is evident that the housing market has changed very significantly since 2007, with substantial improvements in the affordability of housing. The question of future commitments in relation to affordable housing will obviously have to take this into account, together with the extent to which there is a significant quantum of completed affordable housing currently available for sale.
750. Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of social houses provided in the past five years; the number of affordable houses provided over the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29397/09]
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy Michael Finneran): Information on social housing starts and completions, including acquisitions, and on affordable housing activity is published in my Department’s Annual and Quarterly Housing Statistics Bulletins, copies of which are available in the Oireachtas library. Bulletins from 2000 onwards are also available on my Department’s website, www.environ.ie.
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