To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the number of staff engaged in the Housing Delivery Office per annum since its establishment; the average length of service in the office; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
In line with the commitment under Action 2.9 of Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, a dedicated Housing Delivery Office (HDO) was established within my Department, in August 2016, to support the accelerated delivery of housing across the social and private sectors, and tenure spectrum, in an integrated and timely manner. Working with the broader Housing and Planning Divisions in my Department, other key agencies, local authorities and the construction sector, the HDO supports the roll-out of complex projects, including identifying and resolving barriers to delivery, and monitors progress across key sites as they progress.
At the time of its establishment, the HDO comprised a team of 4 people with extensive expertise in project management, finance, planning and local government, including staff seconded from the local government sector and the National Development Finance Agency.
Having carried out a range of initial initiatives, and taking account of the fact that some assignments to the office were time-limited, the HDO was refocused in September 2017 to work more closely on supporting local housing delivery and land management. In that context, the current team of 3 comprises 1 civil servant and 2 officers with experience of housing delivery and the local government sector. These officers have service ranging from 8 to 27 months in the HDO. In addition to this complement of staff the HDO draws on supports from other relevant Business Units in my Department and other relevant public bodies and this can give rise to movements of staff resources between these connected areas from time to time.
As with all critical areas of activity in my Department, the resources available to the HDO are kept under regular review in the context of the ongoing evolution of the Office’s role.
The new guidelines being issued in regard to local housing assessments needs in each local authority
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the new guidelines being issued in regard to local housing assessments needs in each local authority as outlined under the national planning framework; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
One of the important components at local authority level in determining both supply and demand for housing will be the preparation, in the context of National Policy Objective 37 of the National Planning Framework (NPF), of a "Housing Need Demand Assessment" (HNDA) for each local authority area in order to correlate and accurately align overall future housing requirements, as an evolution of their existing Housing Strategy requirements under Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000. This will assist local authorities in ensuring long-term strategic housing needs are met across all types, tenures and locations across their functional areas, both urban and rural.
My Department intends to provide further guidance to local authorities in this regard later this year, to support their HDNA work as part of the review of their Development Plans, which will fall to be completed once Regional, Spatial and Economic Strategies have been adopted.
My Department is also considering how the aggregate view of HNDAs will feed into national reporting, including in particular in monitoring and assessing delivery and performance in line with NPF objectives.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government if the cost rental pilot project has gone to tender; when construction is due to commence; the number of units due to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Government is committed to the introduction of a not-for-profit, cost rental sector in Ireland. Together with delivering more affordable and predictable rents, cost rental will make a sustainable impact on national competitiveness and the attractiveness of our main urban centres as places to live and work.
Under the cost rental model, minimising retained earnings, land and other delivery costs, while securing very competitive European Investment Bank (EIB) financing, means that affordable rents can be achieved. The final rents, for any given project, will be set after all associated costs are determined, following on from the competitive construction and management tender processes. Cost rental homes will be targeted at households earning low to moderate annual incomes up to a maximum of €50,000 for single applicants and €75,000 for dual applicants.
The Government has made €310m available to local authorities to fund facilitating infrastructure to deliver affordable housing from its sites. The funding is available for cost rental projects and can contribute to reducing costs even further. The terms of any loan funding arrangements put in place for individual projects will be determined on a case by case basis.
Cost rental is new to Ireland and in order to drive delivery, two early mover pilot projects are being advanced, delivering important lessons in terms of cost rental in an Irish setting; one at Enniskerry Road, in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, and one at Emmet Road in Inchicore. It is expected that 50 cost rental units and 105 social homes will be made available on the Enniskerry Road site. It is anticipated that the assessment of tenders will be complete and a contract will be awarded by the end of Q1 2019.
With regard to the Emmet Road site, while this project is at an earlier stage of development, it is envisaged that the final tenure-mix, which will be decided by Dublin City Council, will likely include 140 social housing homes, with the remaining 330 homes predominantly provided under cost rental arrangements. The City Council has appointed a dedicated project manager and a team to drive the project forward and are currently procuring a design for the Urban Design Development Framework Plan which will be completed by end Q1 2019. Thereafter, the Council will procure a multi-disciplinary design team to prepare the project for the planning application stage.
In addition to pre-existing consultative arrangements, the Council is also facilitating a Consultative Forum specifically for this project. The Council has held three information sessions for the public, community and business representatives. The Consultative Forum has met twice and its third meeting, which I will attend, will take place later today. I understand the Consultative Forum plan to establish a number of sub-committees to address issues related to, inter alia, education, social regeneration, community facilities and economic development.
Cost rental will initially be managed on an administrative basis, and my Department is preparing a draft administrative cost rental framework in collaboration with the Housing Agency and the local authorities involved in the pilot projects. The invaluable learning from the above-mentioned projects will inform further cost rental projects to be rolled out across other suitable sites.
My Department is engaging with the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) and the new Land Development Agency (LDA) to examine the optimum funding and delivery options to support cost rental delivery at scale. My Department is also working with the EIB to leverage its advisory and research capacity so that broader international lessons on the operation of cost rental can inform Ireland's approach
The amount spent and the number of recipients of family hubs in 2017 and 2018; the estimated cost in 2019
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the amount spent on family hubs in 2017 and 2018; the estimated cost in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the number of recipients of family hubs in 2017; the estimated number in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level. Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of accommodation and associated services for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities.
Family hubs offer family living arrangements with a greater level of stability than is possible in hotel accommodation, with the capacity to provide appropriate play-space, cooking and laundry facilities, communal recreation space, while move-on options to long-term independent tenancies are identified and secured.
There are currently 26 hubs operational nationally, offering over 600 units of family accommodation in urban areas. 22 of these are in Dublin, with one each in Cork, Kildare, Limerick and Louth. Further facilities will become operational during the course of 2019, details of which will become available as projects are finalised by housing authorities.
Capital payments amounting to €14.2 million and €48.5 million were made in respect of operational hub facilities in 2017 and 2018. The funding to be provided in 2019 will be dependent on the progress made by local authorities on the development of further family hubs over the rest of the year.
In relation to the operational funding for the family hubs, my Department provides funding to housing authorities on a regional basis towards the operational costs of homeless accommodation and related services. Under the funding arrangements, housing authorities must provide at least 10% of the cost of services from their own resources. Housing authorities may also incur additional expenditure on homeless related services outside of the funding arrangements with my Department. Therefore, the exact amounts spent by housing authorities on homeless services, as well as the types of accommodation and the service providers engaged, are a matter for those authorities. Financial reports from each of the regions, setting out expenditure on homeless services, including family hubs, in each region in 2017, are published on my Department's website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/node/5498. The equivalent reports for 2018 are currently being prepared by housing authorities.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the amount spent on the housing assistance payment per annum since its establishment; the estimated cost in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the number of recipients of the housing assistance payment since its inception; the estimated cost in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a flexible and immediate housing support that is now available to all eligible households throughout the State. Data to end 2018 is not yet available; however, at the end of Quarter 3 2018, there were more than 40,800 households having their housing needs met via HAP and some 25,500 separate landlords and agents in receipt of monthly HAP payments.
HAP is funded through a combination of Exchequer monies and tenant differential rents collected in respect of HAP tenancies. Budget 2019 has increased the Exchequer funding for the HAP scheme to €422 million. This will allow for the continued support of existing HAP households and also enable the additional 16,760 households targeted under Rebuilding Ireland to be supported by HAP in 2019, as well as supporting the roll-out of the Homeless HAP Place Finder Support Service across the country.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the number of units provided through the repair and lease scheme in 2017 and 2018; the cost per annum; the estimated cost and number of units in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
At the end of Q3 2018, a total of 1,214 applications had been received from property owners under the Repair and Leasing (RLS) scheme; 48 homes had been brought back into use and were tenanted; and 122 agreements for lease had been signed. A detailed breakdown of the RLS scheme data by local authority up to end Q3 2018 is available on my Department’s website at the following link:
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the amount spent on the rental accommodation scheme in each of the years 2011 to 2018; the estimated cost in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the number of recipients of the rental accommodation scheme in each of the years 2011 to 2018; the estimated cost in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Data for the years 2011 to 2017 on the number and cost of tenancies funded under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) scheme is available on my Department's website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.
The most recent RAS data reflects the number of tenancies in place at end October 2018, when there were a total of 19,062 tenancies supported under the scheme. Data in respect of the last quarter of 2018 is being compiled by my Department.
I am providing €134.3 million to support the cost of RAS in 2019 and this funding will go towards supporting 600 additional RAS tenancies targeted to be achieved by local authorities in 2019 and the ongoing cost of supporting continuing RAS contracts in place at the end of 2018.
It is not possible to accurately predict the number of tenancies that will be supported by RAS at the end of 2019 as numbers in RAS vary as contracts end, tenants move on to other properties, landlords join or withdraw from the scheme, new tenancies are allocated or vacancies in contracted units are filled. Furthermore, towards 2021, as the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme continues to be rolled out nationally and replaces Rent Supplement, it is expected that more RAS tenancies will terminate than will commence.
Nevertheless, RAS continues to be an effective and secure form of social housing support, and remains a significant part of the suite of social housing options currently available to those who are assessed as being in need of housing support.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the number of local area plans, strategic development zones and county development plans in operation by local authority in tabular form in 2005, 2010 and 2018; the reason for the variation in the number of plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
I have no further update to the number of local area plans, strategic development zones and county development plans in operation by local authorities since my reply to Question No. 230 of 24 May 2018.
The numbers of such plans and SDZ designations and planning schemes vary in line with wider policy and operational requirements including, the requirements of planning legislation, addressing the development needs of the wider economy and society and the workload involved in preparing, considering and implementing such planning policy frameworks.
My Department is currently giving consideration to the best manner in which to seek updates from planning authorities at more regular intervals.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government when the Moorhead review on local authority terms and conditions will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
On 21 June 2018 I announced that, with the agreement of the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, I was commissioning a review of the role and remuneration of local authority elected members and published the terms of reference for same. I appointed Ms. Sara Moorhead SC to conduct the independent review.
Ms Moorhead's review is well underway and, in accordance with the terms of reference, an interim report has been prepared. This details the range of actions undertaken to date and sets out the further complex work necessary to complete the review. This work is proceeding and Ms Moorhead's intention is that a final report will be ready for submission by the end of quarter 1, 2019.
When the review is complete, its findings will be the subject of discussion between my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. It will be submitted thereafter for the consideration of the Government.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government when he will publish regulations under Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
I commenced the relevant provisions of Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 to provide a statutory basis for the delivery of affordable housing for purchase. Part 5 contains significant detail on the procedures and operation of the new Affordable Purchase Scheme.
The primary legislation will be supported by associated regulations, which are in the final stage of legal drafting following extensive consultation between my Department, the Housing Agency and local authorities. These will be published shortly. Most recently, my Department hosted a workshop for all local authorities on affordable housing and local authority land activation issues on 8 November 2018, where the operation of Part 5 was discussed.