Government set to announce 1,000 extra social housing units

By Daniel McConnell, Political Editor

The Government is to announce 1,000 extra social housing units tomorrow, in a bid to address the nationwide homes crisis.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly is to bring a memo to Cabinet for approval and will later publish a report marking the first anniversary of his social housing strategy.

In it, he is expected to confirm that an additional 13,000 social housing units have been delivered through a variety of schemes including refurbishments of voided units and new builds.

Mr Kelly has come under pressure in recent months over the prolonged crisis and for the large spike in the numbers of families presenting to State services as homeless.

The Government has committed more than €2.2bn over 10 years to address the shortage in social housing across the country.

Today, Mr Kelly was criticised heavily for his relaxation of planning laws regarding apartments.

New minimum apartment sizes introduced by Mr Kelly last month cannot actually be built, according to the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI).

RIAI vice-president and housing spokesman John O’Mahony said it was “not possible” to design an apartment within the new minimum sizes because the smallest permissible rooms would not fit inside.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil are to bring a private members motion in the Dáil in relation to the Government’s homelessness strategy.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Fianna Fáil’s environment spokesman Barry Cowen said his party is calling on the Government to “get real” about the scale of the housing crisis.

“We are calling out the poor performance of the housing sector. We are specifically highlighting that Michael Noonan said last year that he was instructing Nama to build 20,000 homes,” he said.

“We believed that was to happen in one year.

“Now we hear it is 2,000 homes over five years.

“This is completely insufficient to meet the demands of the crisis.”

KEYWORDS: social housing


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