Government launches Housing Action Plan

Update 1.49pm: The Government is today launching its new 84-point action plan to deal with the housing crisis.

The Rebuilding Ireland project encompasses five pillars - to address homelessness; accelerate social housing; build more homes; improve the rental sector and utilise existing housing.

The €5.35bn plan has pledged to deliver 47,000 social houses in six years. The plan also says 25,000 homes a year will be built here by 2020.

  • Pillar 1 – Address Homelessness

    Provide early solutions to address the unacceptable level of families in emergency accommodation; deliver inter-agency supports for people who are currently homeless, with a particular emphasis on minimising the incidence of rough sleeping, and enhance State supports to keep people in their own homes.

  • Pillar 2 – Accelerate Social Housing

    Increase the level and speed of delivery of social housing and other State-supported housing.

  • Pillar 3 – Build More Homes

    Increase the output of private housing to meet demand at affordable prices.

  • Pillar 4 – Improve the Rental Sector

    Address the obstacles to greater private rented sector delivery, to improve the supply of units at affordable rents.

  • Pillar 5 – Utilise Existing Housing

    Ensure that existing housing stock is used to the maximum degree possible - focusing on measures to use vacant stock to renew urban and rural areas

Housing Minister Simon Coveney has said that the use of hotels and B&Bs as emergency accommodation will be brought to an end by next year.

“We know that putting families in hotels doesn’t work,” he said. “So we’re going to change that.

“And we’re setting a pretty bold ambition for this time next year to have no reliance on hotel accommodation and B&Bs accommodation for emergency accommodation for families.

“And that will be challenging and we will set targets along the way to make sure we deliver on that.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the Government is committed to dealing with the housing crisis.

“This plan, believe me, is ambitious in its vision and in its scale of investment,” he said.

“It will take engagement across Government, the involvement of Local Government, the real involvement of Local Government, and the commitment of the entire sector to deliver on it.

“But it is well founded, and the Minister for Housing and his team have researched and consulted very widely in drawing it up, and it is realistic, addressing the housing challenge fully and finally, as a key objective of the Government.”

Earlier:

The Government is unveiling its biggest ever effort to tackle the country's housing crisis this afternoon.

Work which started on the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness in April concludes this afternoon as the Taoiseach Enda Kenny launches its recommendations.

Over the next five years, it is hoped that around 45,000 social houses to be built.

There will be an increase in the number of 'rapid build' homes - which are assembled off-site and then shipped to their final address.

There is also expected to be cash top-ups for first time buyers, greater protections for tenants and a fund to buy houses for the homeless.

Chairman of Property Industry Ireland, Tom Philips, thinks the new plan may just work.

“There is no silver bullet,” he said.

“There’s a lot of roles for Local Authority, for Government, for private developers etc..

“So what I think the Government are trying to do is to try to harness the public and the private sector and say: ‘We can’t do it ourselves, our Government Ministers and senior officials can’t do it, you the private sector can’t do it, and our Local Authority planners can’t do it, so work together and get it solved’.”

Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin said that he is already doubtful about the commitments on social housing contained in the plan.

“Look, what we need to see is a major investment in social housing and housing owner by Local Authorities and approved housing bodies,” he said.

He said that reported figure of an additional E2bn of funding was “nowhere near enough.

“That will simply bring the Government back to the level of funding that was there in 2008. They’ll essentially be reversing the cuts that they introduced themselves.”

Maria Bailey, chair of the Housing Committee and Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, said that she hopes the new policy will provide a safety net for families facing homelessness.

“What we need to do here is deliver housing and that can’t be done in a piecemeal manner,” she said.

“There’s many barriers in place to delivering housing and I’m hoping that this report will life most of those barriers.”

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