Housing action plan: Haven’t we seen all this before?

Noel Baker looks at a timeline of events that has led to the Housing Action Plan.

Housing action plan: Haven’t we seen all this before?

August 2008:

The Way Home: A Strategy to Address Adult Homelessness in Ireland 2008–2013. Targets in the plan, introduced by then-Environment Minister John Gormley included eliminating long-term occupation of emergency homeless facilities; eliminating the need to sleep rough; and preventing homelessness, as far as possible.

May 2014:

The Construction 2020 Strategy was published in May 2014, with targets that included a return to a sustainable proportion of GDP (10%) from the low of (5%) in 2012 for the sector; an increase in construction jobs by up to 60,000, and an increase in output to the 25,000 houses required annually.

November 26, 2014:

Social Housing Strategy 2020 launched. It proposed supplying 35,000 additional social housing units at a cost of €3.8bn over six years, creating an estimated 29,000 jobs in construction.

December 2014:

Following the death of homeless man Jonathan Corrie in a doorway yards from the entrance to Leinster House, then Minister for Environment and Community Alan Kelly convened a forum on homelessness in Dublin. The Plan to Tackle Homelessness provided immediate actions to address rough sleeping and homelessness, including 260 additional emergency beds, a Nite Café to provide a contact point for homeless people, an order that the four Dublin housing authorities ensured 50% of all housing allocations went to homeless households and other vulnerable groups for the following six months.

February 18, 2015:

Mr Kelly and Paudie Coffey welcomed a new €300m fund for investment in social housing, with the programme jointly backed by the Housing Finance Agency and the European Investment Bank, and targeting an additional 2,000 social housing units over the next three years.

April 1, 2015:

Mr Kelly and Mr Coffey announced housing targets for each local authority area out to 2017, with over €1.5bn to be invested in a combination of building, buying, and leasing schemes by local authorities designed to accommodate 25% of those on the waiting lists in social housing.

May 5, 2015:

The first major direct-build social housing programme gets underway with over 100 separate housing projects, the first phase of direct-build under the social housing strategy.

July 17, 2015:

The Urban Regeneration and Housing Bill 2015 was passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas, with the aim to tackle vacant and idle land and improve housing supply.

October 2015

: Investment in housing infrastructure outlined in the Budget provides for over 17,000 housing units to be delivered in 2016.

October 21, 2015:

Delivery of modular housing, first mooted in late 2014, was approved by Mr Kelly, with 500 units getting the go-ahead. The first units were to have been finished by last Christmas, but work was suspended over a wrangle regarding the chosen site for the first 22 units at Poppintree in north Dublin. Work resumed, but costs have ballooned: Mr Kelly said each would cost up to €100,000, but last April it emerged the cost was closer to €240,000 each.

November 10, 2015:

A New Deal for Tenants unveiled, with Mr Kelly announcing a series of reforms to the private rental sector to provide rent certainty for tenants and landlords, such as an increase in rent review periods.

April 2016:

As he prepared to leave office, Mr Kelly published Laying the Foundations: Housing Actions Report, which set out the 31 actions taken across the housing spectrum to date.

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