Plans for 30,000 new homes in urban sites

The Government is hoping to deliver 30,000 new homes in 23 major urban areas in Cork, Dublin, Limerick and Galway in a bid to relieve the housing crisis, a government report reveals.

Up to 23 so-called “Major Urban Delivery Sites” have been identified with the capacity to deliver 30,000 new homes in the medium term in the Greater Dublin Area, Cork, Limerick and Galway.

“These are to be prioritised for progressing by the Housing Delivery Office and Local Authorities,” the report states.

The report, which will be discussed by Cabinet today, also reveals that almost 15,000 new homes were finished in 2016 which represented an 18% increase on the year before.

The figure — while up significantly on previous years — is still well short of the required number of 25,000 a year which is needed around the country to meet the demands of the growing population.

According to the Quarter 4 report from Housing Minister Simon Coveney, which was presented to the Cabinet sub-committee on housing last night, 14,932 new homes were completed during 2016, an increase of 18% on the 2015 figure of 12,666.

The report, obtained by the Irish Examiner, also states there has been an increase of 45% in the number of granted planning permissions across the country, but again this is still 9,000 shy of the Government’s own target figure.

In relation to homelessness, Mr Coveney states that three new and one upgraded homelessness facilities at a total cost of €6.1m were opened in Dublin in December.

These provided over 200 additional emergency beds, bringing the overall total of emergency beds available in Dublin to more than 1,800.

Mr Coveney says: “We have seen some positive trends in homelessness statistics of late with the number of homeless families appearing to stabilise and the numbers of children in emergency accommodation decreasing.”

The early phase of the Housing Agency programme for the acquisition of vacant properties using €70m in exchequer funding, which will deliver close to 200 additional homes in the coming months, and the continuing creation of homeless HAP tenancies, which proved particularly successful in 2016, are hugely important interventions that will continue to be central features in tackling homelessness in 2017, the report adds.

“We must harness the 40% increase in homeless funding from €70m in 2016 to €98m in 2017 to ensure that the increased demand for emergency homeless services is effectively addressed and delivers solutions for the maximum number of homeless households,” he says in the report.

In excess of 18,000 households/individuals had their social housing needs met in 2016, ahead of the target of just over 17,000.

As part of this overall delivery, we built, purchased or refurbished some 5,300 homes in 2016 — around 1,000 over the target for the year.

More than 12,000 HAP tenancies were created last year; 1,100 families were accommodated under RAS.

Separately Junior Health Minister Catherine Byrne will seek approval for legislation and the setting up of injecting centres.

The legislation would allow the minister to issue a licence or licences for supervision centres.

The Government hopes to have the law passed through the Oireachtas in the coming months with the first pilot drug injection centre up and running later in the year.

Education Minister Richard Bruton is to bring details of a review of the Deis scheme for disadvantaged schools to cabinet.

Mr Bruton hopes that the scheme can be expanded to include more schools.


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