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.

New Measures to Protect Renters

Posted May 21st, 2018

Recently we agreed new measures to protect renters.

Theses measures include making it a criminal offence to increase rent beyond the agreed limits, to increase rent transparency and to give greater security of tenure.

I explain these measure in a video which you can watch here.

New Social Housing in Bray

Posted May 2nd, 2018

Last week I was in Bray turning the sod on 42 new Social Homes – part of the 1,225 Social Houses to be delivered in Wicklow under Rebuilding Ireland.

Over the course of 2018 and 2019, 42 new families and individuals will come to call Kilbride Lane their home. The scheme will consist of a mix of 2 and 3 bed houses along with 1 and 2 bed apartments, delivering not only high quality homes but the mix of residents that contribute effectively to sustainable communities.

Go here to read my comments at the event.

Go here to watch a video from the event.

Reduction in Rough Sleeping

Posted April 25th, 2018

I welcome the reduction in the number of rough sleepers in Dublin. A report furnished to my Department by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) showed that there was a reduction of 74 individuals (40%) from the last count which took place in November 2017.

Last November there were 184 individuals sleeping rough and now there are 110. This reduction in people sleeping rough – in many ways our most vulnerable people who are homeless – is very welcome. It follows the dedicated and compassionate work of the DRHE working with our partner organisations to increase the services available in the Dublin Region. Still there’s more to do because we still have many people sleeping rough on our streets.

Many of those accessing homeless services have complex needs and require other supports, notably health supports, to assist them to exit our homeless services. Housing First is best international practice for getting people out of homelessness and that is why earlier this year I appointed a National Director for Housing First and increased its allocation. I want to thank Bob Jordan for the excellent work he has done so far this year. He’s delivering results and pilot programmes are also now being progressed in other parts of the country, including Cork, Limerick and Galway.

To continue reading, go here.

  • Join the team!