Major housing announcement with €300m investment in Local Authority projects

The Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government, Alan Kelly, has just announced the first major direct build social housing programme with the kick-starting of over 100 separate housing projects.

The move is part of the first phase of direct-build under the Government’s social housing strategy. €312 million has been approved by the Ministers which will see an additional 1700 social housing units come on stream by 2017 with an estimated 3000 additional jobs in construction created.

The projects, which cut across each local authority area, range in size from small numbers of units to projects of over 50 units for some of the Dublin local authorities.

These projects have been subjected to a value-for-money review by officials at the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government and represent the first phase of direct build under the social housing strategy. Local authorities submitted applications for direct building programmes with approval being granted to over 100 projects in just two months. Further assessments will be carried out throughout the rest of the year with some projects requiring planning approval. All will be completed by 2017.

The move is part of the Government’s €4billion social housing strategy to deliver 35,000 housing units out to 2020 and to reduce the housing waiting lists by 25% nationally by 2017 based on the most recent housing need assessment report. The investment will be combined with further building projects under the Department’s regeneration programme, a programme of refurbishment to deliver an additional 1,000 housing units this year as well as the social housing provision provided by approved housing bodies, NAMA and part V units. There will also be a number of housing units bought or leased to provide housing for those in acute need.

Minister Kelly said: “This is the first major investment in local authority housing for many years. This announcement will see over 1700 housing units delivered over a three year period, creating approximately 300 jobs in construction with all of these projects being assessed in under a two month period. It represents a good start but with much more needing to be done. For many years during the celtic tiger, house building was something many local authorities got out of. It has taken time, but with approximately 300 additional housing staff in local authorities, including planners and architects, the funding that is coming on stream, aggressive investment and action is being taken to tackle the housing crisis.

The last major house-building announcement was for €68 million which has seen the commencement of over 50 construction projects starting in 2014. Between local authorities and the voluntary housing sector, there are now in excess of 150 social housing projects currently under construction which will in time have an impact on housing waiting lists,”

This announcement will also provide much needed jobs in the construction and trades sector and will boost employment in communities around the country.