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Over three-quarters of all social housing delivery this year is set to come from the private sector

Social Housing Delivery Targets for Local Authorities commit to providing an additional 50,000 social housing homes by the end of 2021.

Image: SAM BOAL/RollingNews.ie

THE GOVERNMENT HAS published its social housing delivery targets for 2018, with the vast majority coming through the private rental sector.

The Social Housing Delivery Targets for Local Authorities 2018-2021 commit to providing an additional 50,000 social housing homes by the end of 2021.

These would be delivered through a combination of new builds (33,500), acquisitions of houses (6,500) and long-term leasing programmes from private landlords (10,000).

On top this, the Housing Department commits to continuing with the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and Rental Accommodation Schemes (RAS) to support families with a social housing need.

It states that in the region of 18,000 households will be supported through these schemes this year (compared to about the same number last year).

So in total, the government commits to what it calls “meeting the social housing need” of 25,941 households this year.

Diving into the figures. a total of 4,969 new social housing units will be actually built this year (about 2,700 more than last year).

Of these, it’s expected 3,819 will be built by either local authority or Approved Housing Body (AHB) programmes – essentially charities that build and manage social housing.

The remainder will be from Part V (housing taken by a local authority from new private builds) and voids (meaning derelict or unused houses that are refurbished and brought back into use).

Added to this will be 900 acquisitions of housing (which is significantly fewer than last year) – giving a total of 5,869 new actual social housing stock added to the supply.

Taking both builds and acquisitions into account, this number is fewer than the number of social housing built or acquired through these means in 2017.

Figures from 2017 Social Housing Delivery Report show that through new builds and acquisitions a total of 6,297 social housing units were delivered.

This is 438 more than is planned for this year.

Despite this, the number of actual new builds is due to increase this year compared to last. From roughly 2,245 to 4,969.

On top of this, the number of homes acquired through long-term leases is set to jump from 798 last year to 2000 this year.

The remaining 18,072 homes having their social housing needs met will be done through the Housing Assistance Payment and Rental Accommodation Scheme.

This is just under 70% of the total of social housing solutions to be delivered this year.

Taking into account long-term leases (which technically come from the private rental sector and are not added to the permanent social housing stock), 78% of social housing is set to be delivered this year through the private rental sector.

“The building of new social housing homes by local authorities and approved housing bodies is ramping up dramatically as we can see in this construction report,” said Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.

Criticism

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin criticised the government for its overreliance on the private sector in delivering social housing.

“The figures are deeply depressing,” he said.

They confirm the Governments continued undersupply of real social housing as well as its glacial pace of delivery.

“The Government is actually proposing to deliver less real social housing in 2018 than it did last year,” he said.

In 2017, local authorities and approved housing bodies built and bought 6,297 homes according to the figures. The target for 2018 is just 5,869.

Ó Broin said that the targets indicate that Fine Gael “do not understand the causes of the housing crisis”.

The government has also come in for criticism this morning for its failure to provide adequate protections for families living in private rental accommodation being evicted when a landlord is selling the property.

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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