Housing, Local Government and Heritage | Accelerating the Housing for All programme and addressing housing on a county basis, appointing professional builders on contract to the respective local authorities
To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage the extent, if any, to which he might accelerate the Housing for All programme in such a way as to reflect the increased demand from the indigenous population as well as asylum seekers and the necessity to ensure that the requirements of all are reflected in a rapid response which might involve identification of limitations imposed through lack of infrastructure such as wastewater, electricity, potable water or other infrastructure including procurement which might be holding up any such programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage if he will indicate given the increasing demand and pressure for housing, the extent, if any, to which he might look at the housing requirements on a county basis with a view to appointing professional builders on contract to the respective local authorities to provide and accelerate a housing programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Housing for All is the Government’s plan to increase the supply of homes to an average of 33,000 per year over the next decade. Over 300,000 new homes will be built by the end of 2030, including a projected 90,000 social homes, 36,000 affordable purchase homes and 18,000 cost rental homes. The Plan is backed by historic levels of investment with in excess of €20bn through the Exchequer, the Land Development Agency and the Housing Finance Agency over the next 5 years. This will provide the sector with the stability and certainty it needs.
Housing for All is set out across four pathways to addressing the most pressing housing challenges facing the State:
1. Pathway to Supporting homeownership and Increasing Affordability
2. Pathway to Eradicating Homelessness, Increasing Social Housing Delivery and Supporting Social Inclusion
3. Pathway to Increasing New Housing Supply
4. Pathway to Addressing vacancy and Efficient Use of Existing Stock
These pathways are underpinned by long-term actions to address systemic challenges. It is a whole-of-Government Plan which aims to create a housing system which has environmental, social and economic sustainability at its heart and which meets the needs of all.
Importantly, a comprehensive implementation and reporting framework is well established to assess how the actions under the Plan are progressing. These structures include political oversight, via the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Housing, the Housing for All Secretary General Delivery Group, and dedicated Workstreams, all of which monitor delivery of the Plan and recommend any adjustments to priorities, as required, on an ongoing basis.
Progress reports are published quarterly. The fourth of these reports, covering progress in Q2 2022 is due for publication in July. These reports can be accessed on https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/9d2ee-housing-for-all-quarterly-progress-reports/
I acknowledge that the capacity of Local Authorities to initiate, design, plan, develop and manage housing projects requires the resourcing of their housing services. In this regard, I have sanctioned over 250 additional Local Authority posts, which are in the process of being filled across housing delivery teams in order to deliver on Housing for All’s ambition. Key supports are also being provided through the Housing Delivery Co-Ordination Office (HDCO), which has been established within the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), to provide co-ordination of Local Authority housing activities. In addition, The Housing Agency’s Procurement and Delivery Unit is also being expanded to provide technical services and supports to Local Authorities, including in procurement, design and modern methods of construction.
Housing cannot be delivered unless we have the supporting critical infrastructure, including transport, communication services and utility connections. A sustainable housing system requires strong integration between housing developments and the surrounding infrastructure and the move to plan-led development in this Plan will support this integrated system.
Transport infrastructure and access to public transport services are a critical enablers of new housing supply. A well-functioning housing system should be supported by transport routes. Together, my Department and the Department of Transport, along with the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the LDA, aim to bring public transport to as many people as possible through better land-use and transport planning, to meet the National Planning Framework objective of ‘compact growth’. In this regard, a working group has been established to consider opportunities for transport-led development in major urban centres.
For their part, Irish Water are supporting the delivery of Housing for All through a number of actions, including the timely delivery of housing connections. Irish Water’s Connections and Developer Services team is responsible for the end-to-end customer management of all connections to the Irish Water network. The team partners with industry and supports Government housing and planning policies to provide an efficient national connection service to all those developing property. Early engagement with the Irish Water Pre-Connection Enquiry service by those seeking connection to the Irish Water network is critical to ascertaining the capacity of the public water services to facilitate the proposed network connection.
Increasing housing supply is at the core of Housing for All. Indications of increased construction activity are becoming evident which will help increase the availability of homes across all tenures.
This year, the Government’s target under Housing for All is 24,600 new homes. In the 12 months to the end of March 2022, a total of 22,219 new homes were completed. In the past 12 months (June 2021 to May 2022), Commencement Notices for 30,233 new homes were received. In addition, latest CSO figures show planning permissions for all residential dwellings are up 22.7% in the year ending Q1 2022 (44,491) when compared to the same time period to Q1 2021 (36,252). Together, the figures point to a substantial uplift in new housing supply in the coming years, as we increase output to average of at least 33,000 new homes per year. This increase in supply will be key to meeting demand, moderating price inflation, and addressing affordability for those wishing to rent or buy their own home.
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