Minister asks Offaly County Council to build just 19 social houses this year
Offaly County Council has been tasked with building just 19 social housing units throughout 2018, according to figures released by Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy.
The figures reveal that 516 social houses were provided by Offaly County Council in 2017 through a combination of building, acquisitions, leasing and the HAP and RAS schemes. The vast majority of those, 459, came through HAP and RAS.
In 2018, Offaly has been set a target of 307 social houses, with most of those once again coming through the aforementioned schemes. Just 19 new builds are included in the targets for Offaly in 2018, the lowest of any county in the country. It is envisaged that 14 will be handed over through leasing and acquisitions this year.
This news comes against the backdrop that 143 people presented as homeless in Offaly in 2017, and that 16 have done so in 2018 so far, numbers revealed at a recent meeting of Offaly County Council. The meeting heard that the net need for social houses in Offaly is around 917, although one councillor, Peter Ormond, said "we need to get real on housing," suggesting that the social housing list is closer to 1,700.
Cllr Peter Ormond questioned whether those on HAP schemes, who he says want to remain on the social housing list, were being factored into the figure for social housing requirement. He was informed that they were that HAP tenants were entitled to remain on the housing list.
In launching the social housing targets for local authorities around the country this week, Minister Eoghan Murphy said that in the latter part of 2017, he secured significant additional funding to increase the overall level of ambition under Rebuilding Ireland in the period to 2021, and also signalled a rebalancing of the strands of delivery towards construction projects.
Overall, the Government says it has committed €6 billion to support the delivery of 50,000 additional social housing homes by end 2021, through build (33,500), acquisition (6,500) and leasing (10,000) programmes.
One of the key outcomes of the second Housing Summit with local authority Chief Executives held earlier this year was a commitment to drive greater transparency and accountability at individual local authority level on the delivery of the targets under Rebuilding Ireland.
“Under the targets I have announced, a minimum of 40,700 homes will be delivered during the 4 year period to end-2021, including over 7,800 this year alone."
"Taking account of the progress already made in 2016 and 2017, this will ensure that the 50,000 target will be met, signalling this Government’s unwavering commitment to a significantly expanded social housing programme,” the Minister commented.
In addition, the Housing Assistance Payment and Rental Accommodation Schemes will continue to play an important part in meeting social housing needs; some 18,000 households are targeted for support under these schemes in 2018," he concluded.
Offaly has been tasked with delivering 437 new homes by the end of the Rebuilding Ireland plan in 2021. It delivered 155 new builds in the whole of 2016 and 2017, according to the Minister's figures.
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