Today we are publishing our Report on Housing Delivery in 2017 under Rebuilding Ireland – providing the public with an update on Social Housing supports delivered in the past year, as well as our latest indicators on building more generally.
Before I begin, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank all of the people who have been working so hard on the front line over the last few weeks, as part of the Cold Weather initiative and other homeless actions, to help rough sleepers in to safe accommodation.
From the available information, we know that the numbers in Dublin are dramatically down.
That’s thanks to the new facilities that we have opened with our partners in the local authorities and NGO sector late last year, as well as the many volunteers and others helping people every night and day of the week.
Ultimately, what each person in emergency accommodation, or a family in a hub, need, is a home.
That’s what today’s report is about – how we used taxpayer money to support tens of thousands of new households, families and individuals, over the course of 2017.
Supports that will again escalate in 2018 thanks to a 36% increase in our budget for this year.
25,892 is the number of new households that had their housing need met under Rebuilding Ireland in 2017.
To put it another way, in 2017, 100 new households had their social housing need met each working day of the week.
The Government exceeded its overall target for new social housing supports last year by 23%. That’s more than 4,800 additional tenancies.
Comparing with 2016, last year we increased our social housing supports by 36% or 6,847 more households supported.
Over 7,000 new homes were brought into the active social housing stock through build, acquisitions, voids and leasing programmes in 2017. This is a 40% increase (almost 2,000 new homes) on what was planned for the year; and it’s a 24% increase over what was achieved in 2016.
We came in slightly shy on our LA and AHB Build target for the year, but hitting 92% or our target – 2245 newly built homes – is still a very positive result. In fact, it’s over three times the level in 2016.
Furthermore, when we look at the combined delivery for both built and acquired social housing homes in 2017, the delivery was 4,511 new homes. That’s 22% (or 827 additional homes) more than had been originally planned.
We have changed the delivery mix for 2018 though, meaning we will be aiming to do more on the build side and less on the acquisitions side. But where buying makes sense, and where it’s not competing with young families or couples in the market, Local Authorities will continue to do it.
Construction figures from September of 2017 show 3,700 new social housing homes being built across 190 sites. These are being added to on a weekly basis.
Activity under Part V in 2017 reflects the overall increase in activity in the wider residential construction sector. The 388 homes delivered represent an almost six-fold increase on the number of new social homes delivered using this mechanism in 2016.
The target for HAP of 15,000 was exceeded by nearly 3,000, with 17,916 new HAP tenancies established in 2017.
Overall, it is estimated that some 4,000 exits from homelessness were achieved in 2017; this is 33% higher than in 2016. I expect to have more detailed figures on homelessness later in the week.
All of this was facilitated by over €1.4 billion of investment of taxpayers’ money, including an additional €100 million provided in December 2017. And we spent all of that money, in both our capital and current housing programmes.
“Over 7,000 new homes were brought into the active social housing stock through build, acquisitions, voids and leasing programmes in 2017.This is a 40% increase on what was planned for the year; and it’s a 24% increase over what was achieved in 2016.”
Looking across the sector more generally:
In 2017, over 17,500 new homes commenced construction. This is an increase of 33% on 2016.
Last year, we saw over 9,500 registrations in larger developments, a level not seen since March 2009.
Over 19,000 homes were connected to the ESB network. This is an increase of more than 29% on 2016. This number includes newly built homes and those lying empty more than 2 years.
In the year to the end of September 2017, planning permissions were granted for more than 18,000 new homes.
As of 31st December, 2017, An Bord Pleanála had received 13 applications for large scale developments under the new fast track process which I signed in to law six months ago, including 1,900 houses, 1,750 apartments and over 4,000 student bed spaces, all due for decision in 2018.
And we’ve recently had the first positive decision under this scheme, which is welcome news.
Of course in recognising these positive developments in 2017, that’s not to say that our work is finished – not by a long shot.
And I’m not saying that all is now well with our housing system and that further interventions will not be needed to continue to repair our recently broken housing system. There is more that we need to do and I know that.
It’s also important to note that Rebuilding Ireland is a 5 year plan, and we are only about 18 months in to that plan.
But they’ve been a very strong 18 months. This last year – 2017 – in particular.
These figures tell us that Rebuilding Ireland is working, that we are moving in the right direction – and we are moving there more quickly than had originally been planned.
People can have confidence in the work that we are doing to repair a recently broken housing system and to get tens of thousands of new homes built.
I’ll continue to drive that work, because it needs to be driven, and further interventions will need to be made, over the coming months and years, until Rebuilding Ireland is completed.
As a Government we are fixing our housing problems – as quickly as they can be fixed; and we are doing it in a sustainable way that won’t expose us to the risks and mistakes of the past.
There is more work to do, clearly. We have even greater ambitions for 2018, particularly on the build side.
Next week, I will host a second Housing Summit with the Local Authority Chief Executives to discuss each Authority’s individual targets for the year and how, and where, they are going to meet them.
And I’ll be publishing that breakdown in the weeks following the Summit – so everyone can see where the new homes are going to be.
So that we can have transparency and accountability at every level of our housing actions.
The Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness includes a comprehensive Five Pillar approach – these pillars are the foundations upon which we will build our plan. They are open to debate, additions and amendments, but for now they will be our starting point for immediate action.
This is an initiative of the Government of Ireland