For Written Answer on : 16/06/2022
Question Number(s): 237 Question Reference(s): 31079/22
Department: Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage his views on the report entitled Analysis of Social Housing Acquisitions published by his Department; the actions, if any that he has taken as a result; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
In August 2019 the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) published a Spending Review Paper ‘Analysis of Social Housing Acquisitions’. The objective of the paper was to provide an overview of the acquisition delivery mechanisms, and other related mechanisms, including an analysis of the level of expenditure and social housing output in the years 2016, 2017 and 2018. The paper is available at the following link: https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/5915ad-spending-review/.
As part of Budget 2022 Spending Reviews the IGEES published Budget 2022 Analysis of Social Housing Acquisitions examining social housing acquisitions for 2019, which builds on the Spending Review paper from 2019 examining social housing acquisition taking place between 2016 and 2018. The paper Budget 2022 Analysis of Social Housing is available at the link: https://assets.gov.ie/201254/778b0b52-e69b-4572-b59d-52331efe45a2.pdf.
In September 2021, the Government published the Housing for All. This strategy is the Government’s plan to increase the supply of housing to an average of 33,000 per year over the next decade. The annual targets include the delivery of 88,400 new social homes and 53,800 new affordable homes in the period 2022-2030. Housing for All is supported by an investment package of over €4bn per annum, through an overall combination of €12bn in direct Exchequer funding, €3.5bn in funding through the Land Development Agency (LDA) and €5bn funding through the Housing Finance Agency.
Our clear focus is to increase the stock of social housing through new build projects delivered by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHB) and, with this, to reduce the numbers of social homes delivered through acquisition programmes. Under Housing for All social housing acquisitions by local authorities and AHBs have been advised to avoid competition with first time buyers and that acquisitions should be focussed on a number of priority areas, as follows:
- One-bedroom units to deliver on Housing First and meet the short supply in this
- Other properties that allow persons/families to exit homelessness; and
- Specific housing required for/suitable for individuals with a disability or other particular priority needs;
On 20 April, a further circular letter issued to local authorities in relation to social housing acquisitions. The key purpose of this circular was to advise local authorities that I had reinstated the delegated sanction to local authorities in respect of social housing acquisitions which are: (i) in one of the priority categories set out in the January circular letter; (ii) are in line with acquisition cost guidelines; and (iii) can be completed during 2022. The reinstatement of delegated sanction will allow local authorities to respond more flexibility to secure acquisitions which support a household to exit or to prevent homelessness, in the context of increasing numbers in emergency accommodation. It is a matter for individual local authorities to identify suitable acquisitions in line with local circumstances and their social housing allocations policy.