Last week I officially opened the latest housing project by Carlow Voluntary Housing Association Ltd (trading as Tinteán), in partnership with Delta Centre in Carlow.

It is a landmark project – the first group home for people with disabilities designed and constructed to Passive House standards.  It has been built on an existing site with an existing special needs home and has been designed to create a shared, private area between the two homes. The house will serve as a home from home for elderly special needs tenants with care provided by Delta Centre.

This Government recognises the serious challenge we face in terms of housing and a critical focus and priority has been firmly placed on responding to this challenge through the development and implementation of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.

It is critical at this stage to ensure that all the structures already in place are aligned, co-ordinated and co-operating towards a shared vision. This includes the Department, the Housing Agency and the Housing Finance Agency working with local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies across the country.  Local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies working in partnership is a model that the Department encourages, and this scheme here today highlights the real progress on the ground being achieved to address the challenges we face in the housing sector.

To continue reading, go here.

To watch a short video from the site, go here.

On Thursday I announced details of a €2 billion Urban Regeneration and Development Fund. As a key part of Project Ireland 2040 – the Government’s National Planning Framework and National Development Plan – the fund is intended to drive regeneration and rejuvenation of strategic and underutilised areas within Ireland’s five cities, key regional drivers and other large towns.

The fund is one of four such funds established under the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) has responsibility for implementing the fund, which has €100m available for expenditure in 2019 and an overall allocation of €550 million allocated to the fund up to the end of 2022.

This fund is about backing better and more coordinated planning for future generations in a way that meets the needs of our growing population and economy more sustainably, by re-imagining and turning around the all-too-frequent sight of empty or run-down or poorly utilised areas in the centres of our cities and larger towns. With this fund, we can now choose a better way to live and work and enjoy leisure time and go for real quality of life and make quality places rather than creating more commuting and urban sprawl.

To continue reading, go here.

To watch a short video about the fund, go here.

Yesterday we turned the sod for the development of the first phase in the Regeneration of  O’Devaney Gardens in Dublin. The first phase will deliver 56 social homes with a budget of more than €20million. The overall re-development will deliver approximately 600 homes, with a mix of tenures, social, affordable and private homes.

Under Rebuilding Ireland, the Regeneration of O’Devaney Gardens is a Pathfinder project, showcasing the provision of large scale, mixed tenure housing in an inner city setting. It is one of three development sites that Dublin City Council owns and offers the combined potential to provide over 1,600 homes. These sites offer the opportunity to create three new, high quality urban quarters. The other two sites are at St Michael’s Estate in Inchicore and at Oscar Traynor Road in Coolock.

I am delighted to turn the first sod on these new homes for tenants of Dublin City Council. It is also a good day for the regeneration of this area. Regeneration goes beyond mere bricks and mortar and in order to be successful and sustainable in the long term, requires the re-building of a community and a strengthening of community bonds. These new social homes will be built to the latest standards and the highest quality and I’m sure the tenants will be delighted with them when they are finished. Arrangements are well in train to complete the development of the remainder of the site.

To find out more, go here.

To see a short video from the site, go here.

July Housing Summit

Posted July 5th, 2018

Following the conclusion of our third Housing Summit with the Chief Executives of each of the 31 Local Authorities today, I am announcing a number of key outcomes and actions that were agreed to further accelerate and increase the delivery of social and affordable housing.

Preventing homelessness, as well as ensuring that those who are experiencing homelessness have every support they need, were also a key focus of the Summit. In particular, the need to exit families and individuals from hotel and B&B accommodation into tenancies supported through the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme or into family hubs, where a range of important supports are in place, was also re-emphasised as a key priority.

The role of the Approved Housing Body (AHB) sector, partnering with local authorities, is critical in terms of delivery. Of the 50,000 social housing homes to be delivered from 2016 to 2021 under Rebuilding Ireland, the AHB sector will deliver a third of these.

To find out about the key outcomes and actions that were agreed, go here.

To watch a short video about the event, go here.

Homelessness Reports

Posted June 25th, 2018

Recently I published two new reports received in relation to homelessness, one prepared by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive, and one prepared by the Inter-Agency Group on Homelessness.

I very much welcome these two separate reports on homelessness. The report from the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive was one I requested earlier this year to investigate and help the Government develop more responsive policies to some emerging trends in homelessness.

It speaks to some of the progress that is being made. For example:

the rate of increase of families accessing emergency accommodation slowed in 2017, when compared to previous years. The number of families accessing emergency accommodation across the State rose by 90% and 55% in 2015 and 2016 respectively.  By 2017, the rate of increase had slowed to 17%;

To continue reading, go here.

Slow Down in Rent Increases

Posted June 14th, 2018

I welcomed the Residential Tenancies Board’s Rent Index Report for Q1 2018, produced in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute and is based on the actual rents being paid in over 19,879 tenancies registered with the RTB during the quarter.

What we are seeing here is a clear slow-down in the rate of rent inflation – with the slowest national growth rate in a year at just 0.4% rent inflation.

Particularly in Dublin, where rental pressures are most severe, we’ve seen a significant slowing down in rent increases. Rents only increased by 1% in Dublin in the first quarter of the year – the increase in the last quarter of last year was similar at 1.1%. Perhaps more significantly, we saw a drop in average rents (-0.8%) in counties surrounding Dublin: in Kildare, Meath and Wicklow in the first three months of the year.

To continue reading, go here.

CSO Housing Statistics Report

Posted June 14th, 2018

I welcome the publication of today’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) Report on New Dwelling Completions which my Department instigated last year.

Today’s report confirms the general upward trends across all housing construction activity data sets, reported not only by my Department under Rebuilding Ireland, but also by many other commentators, showing a welcome increase in housing construction generally.

Essentially, more than 18,000 new homes were made available for use last year. Just over 2,500 were vacant homes brought back in to use, roughly 1,000 were unfinished homes from the Fianna Fail era, and 14,500 were newly built homes occupied for the first time. And these figures don’t include the 2000 or so student bed spaces completed in that time too.

We’ve got more work to do – and it’s my responsibility as Minister to get that work done. But new housing supply is very much moving in the right direction and moving there very quickly.

To continue reading, go here.

New Social Housing in the Midlands

Posted June 1st, 2018

On Monday I visited some sites in the Midlands to see the progress of housing delivery under Rebuilding Ireland.

In Lanesborough, 33 new Social Homes are under construction – builders went on site 2 months ago, 24 bases are already down and we hope to see all 33 completed by the end of the year.

In Ballymahon, four homes were completed in less than 12 months – just one small part of the housing delivery in Longford.

In Ferbane we visited 5 new homes that have recently been built and occupied under Rebuilding Ireland. I also opened a new €1M fire station for the community.

You can see some videos from the sites here, here and here.

Today I joined representatives from Dublin City Council and the Peter McVerry Trust in Ballyfermot to view the first home to be delivered in Dublin City under the Government’s Repair and Leasing Scheme.

The home had been vacant for almost 3 years before being brought back into use under the Repair and Leasing Scheme; it will now be a long awaited new home to a family who are currently staying in B&B accommodation.

The visit to Ballyfermot today shows the real potential of this scheme. This home is in the centre of Ballyfermot, close to shops, schools and public transport and yet, up to today, no one had lived here for 3 years. There are many reasons why homes can lie vacant but it’s wonderful to think that from today, it will be a new home to a family who will be a part of this vibrant local community. The challenge now is to keep working to help other families leave emergency accommodation; every home that we can bring back into use under schemes like Repair and Leasing will contribute to that work.

To continue reading, go here.

On Monday I visited a site in Stillorgan that will house a new 9 storey development of social and affordable housing. This is a great location, with good access to UCD and the City Centre.

This is at stage 1 approval – the Department of Housing working with the Local Authority will be prioritising getting this through the planning process as soon as possible to get people into these new homes.

To see a short video from the site, go here.

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