Thursday, 21 January 2010
Dáil Eireann Debate
296. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the action he proposes to take by way of providing extra funding to facilitate local authorities that wish to provide or acquire housing stock, thereby reducing the cost of rent support; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2915/10]
300. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government when he expects to bring about a reduction in the number of applicants on local authority housing waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2919/10]
301. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his plans to address the issue of long waiting lists for local authority houses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2920/10]
Despite the challenges currently faced in the housing sector, significant levels of activity have been achieved under the range of housing supports funded by my Department in recent years. Through these, the accommodation needs of over 20,200 households were met in 2008, an increase of 10% on corresponding figure of 18,300 in 2007. Final data in respect of 2009 are not yet available.
Meeting housing need remains a high priority for the Government. While ensuring that we can deliver across the full range of needs, the scale and composition of the public housing programme in the years ahead will be dependent on a number of factors, including the level of available funding and the evolution of the housing market generally.
I am determined to ensure that the overall delivery programme is framed in a manner which continues to optimise the way in which needs are met. To achieve this, it is essential that we tailor the available Exchequer supports to prevailing market conditions, and explore alternative solutions to address needs, having full regard to the sustainable communities philosophy outlined in the Government’s housing policy statement, Delivering Homes, Sustaining Communities.
To this end, the range of delivery mechanisms continues to be adapted and expanded. For example, last year, I introduced a new Social Housing Leasing Initiative, under which in excess of 1,900 units were sourced in 2009 and through which I expect a substantial number of units to be provided in the years ahead to meet housing needs, estimated at just over 56,000 households in the 2008 Housing Needs Assessment. This, together with the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS), complements the traditional capital funded programmes operated through local authorities and the voluntary and co-operative housing sector. The combined budget provision for leasing and RAS for 2010 is €150 million and I anticipate that, taken together, the two schemes will deliver half of the projected social housing output this year.
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