Special apartments to tackle social housing waiting lists

A unique type of accommodation is to be made available to those on social housing waiting lists in Dublin.

Up to 34 specially designed apartments are about to be made available to those over the age of 55, so that older council tenants who would like to downsize from an existing larger council owned property can do so.

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has completed the construction of the apartments at the Rochestown House complex in Sallynoggin which was first built in the 1970s.

News of the almost completed apartments comes as the country’s decades-old local authority housing waiting list rules are to be overhauled in an effort to ensure all properties are occupied.

The numbers on social housing waiting lists has climbed to just under 14,000 while nearly 2,000 offers of accommodation were turned down.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney is to overhaul current policy where people are offered properties based on eligibility and need. Instead, new rules will let prospective tenants express a preference for properties.

The minister is planning to make it mandatory for local authorities to advertise vacant properties online. The responsibility for locating a home would be on those on the waiting list, moving the onus away from a local authority.

Construction of the apartments in the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown area is the second phase in a three-part scheme which is introducing a significant number of housing units specially designed for elderly residents. The first phase was completed and opened in 2014.

Council Cathaoirleach Cormac Devlin said “the fact that they’ve been renovated to such a high energy standard which is passive, meaning that the building is often considered to be the ultimate low-energy, and that they’ve modern communal facilities such as cafeteria and washing facilities makes them unique in the modern era.

“The Rochestown House development is a superb example of a local authority developing housing to meet current and future demand. The 34 deluxe one bedroom apartments are specially designed for older council tenants who would like to downsize from an existing larger council owned property.

“The apartments at Rochestown House are finished to a very high standard, are more energy efficient than most council properties and are strategically situated just a few minutes’ walk from the many shops and amenities in the Sallynoggin area.”

The cathaoirleach pointed out that single bedroom housing list represents just over half of the 5,733 families currently awaiting accommodation.

He added: “As residents transition into these more efficient smaller units they will free up larger properties for families.

“The proposed rent will be on income. Rents can range from €24/€35 per week upwards. Our senior list begins at the age of 55 in DLR, so maybe some might still be working but they will be eligible for social housing obviously.”

The average purchase price for a three bed house in DLR is €459,000 — the highest of the three other Council areas in Dublin with Dublin City costing €330,638, €292,306 in Fingal and €277,000 in South Dublin.

However, the population of 206,000 equates to approximately 16% of the population of the Dublin Metropolitan Area.

The Private and Public Housing Supply Report from the local authority shows that 3,300 private and social houses need to be built each year until 2022 – almost 250 more each year than the peak housing output in 2007.

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