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Council welcomes Government initiatives on Housing and Homelessness

Fingal County Council has welcomed the initiatives proposed by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government following last week’s summit with Ireland’s 31 Local Authorities.

Chief Executive Paul Reid and Director of Housing and Community Margaret Geraghty represented Fingal County Council at the summit and stated afterwards that they are ready to work in partnership with the Minister and his department to deliver more housing in Fingal.

“The summit was an opportunity for Central Government to hear from Local Government in relation to the housing crisis and, out of that, has come a series of initiatives which will help local authorities in tacking the housing crisis,” said Mr Reid.

“We especially welcome the increased commitment to the building of more social houses which will certainly benefit Fingal as we already have an extensive construction programme under way with 23 active social housing sites across the county. This will deliver a further 212 new homes by the end of 2018 while our existing construction programme for the period from 2019 to 2021 will deliver 1,183 units,” he added.

Ms Geraghty welcomed the extra funding for Family Hubs and added that Fingal is already well ahead of its targets in terms of the delivery of social housing.

“Our target under the Housing Strategy was to deliver 1,376 units by the end of 2017 and we have provided 1,590 to date with a further 1,616 in the pipeline for delivery before the end of 2018. To date the Council has spent over €85m and we will spend a total of €230m by the end of next year.

“We welcome the increased support for Family Hubs and other measures in relation to HAP, Housing First and refusals. As a Council we are working to deal with the increase in the numbers presenting as homeless while at the same time trying to prevent others from falling into homeless. We have made great progress since 2015 in providing social housing and estimate that by the end of 2021 we will have delivered a minimum of 4,389 units.”

As part of the preparation for the Summit, Local Authorities were asked to make recommendations to the Minister. Among the suggestions made by Fingal were the creation of a full National Government Policy on Homelessness, the need for statutory provisions to address the need for affordable housing and a Targeted Tenancy Surrender Incentive Scheme to encourage downsizing.

The Council also recommended the extending of the LIHAF programme to include more sites across Fingal in order to deliver on the potential of significant land banks in the county and deliver a further 2,500 residential dwellings.

A number of recommendations were also made in relation to Funding Mechanisms and Procurement in order to improve the general housing situation and the Council is also working with the Department to explore its capacity to borrow through other funding sources to accelerate the delivery of housing.

“As a Council we are examining every option open to us in order to address the housing crisis and we will continue to work with our councillors and every other stakeholder towards providing more homes to meet the demand from those on our housing list,” said Ms Geraghty.

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