1,000 social housing units pledge by Coalition

The Government is to announce the provision of 1,000 extra social housing units today, in a bid to address the housing crisis.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly is to bring a memo to cabinet for approval and will later today publish a report marking the first anniversary of his social housing strategy.

In it, he is expected to confirm that an additional 13,000 social housing units have been delivered through a variety of schemes including refurbishments of voided units and new builds.

Mr Kelly has come under pressure recently over the prolonged crisis and for the large spike in the numbers of families presenting to State services as homeless.

The Government has committed more than €2.2bn over 10 years to address the shortage in social housing.

Yesterday, Mr Kelly was criticised heavily for his relaxation of planning laws regarding apartments. New minimum apartment sizes introduced by Mr Kelly last month cannot actually be built, according to the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland. Vice-president and housing spokesman John O’Mahony said it was not possible to design an apartment within the new minimum sizes because the smallest permissible rooms would not fit inside.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil is to bring a private members motion in the Dáil over the Government’s failed homelessness strategy. Speaking to the Irish Examiner, environment spokesman Barry Cowen said his party is calling on the Government to “get real” about the scale of the housing crisis.

“We are calling out the poor performance of the housing sector. We are specifically highlighting that Michael Noonan said last year he was instructing Nama to build 20,000 homes. We believed that was to happen in one year. Now we hear it is 2,000 homes over five years. This is completely insufficient to meet the demands of the crisis,” he said.

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