Mr. Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, today (19 July) published “Rebuilding Ireland – an Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness”, following Government approval of the comprehensive and ambitious Plan at today’s Cabinet meeting. He was joined by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny and Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe.
This Plan provides a multi-stranded, action-oriented approach to achieving many of the Government’s key housing objectives, as set down in the Programme for a Partnership Government, to significantly increase the supply of social housing, to double the output of overall housing from the current levels to at least 25,000 per annum by 2020, to service all tenure types, and to tackle homelessness in a comprehensive manner.
This whole-of-Government Plan has been developed in close collaboration with other key Government Departments and Agencies, under the oversight of a dedicated Cabinet Committee chaired by An Taoiseach. The Plan was also informed by the Report of the Special Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness (published on 17th June), as well as through extensive consultation with stakeholders, including at two national stakeholder events hosted by both Ministers Coveney and Damien English earlier this month.
The Plan is comprehensive and addresses all aspects of the housing system under five Pillars:
- Address Homelessness,
- Accelerate Social Housing,
- Build More Homes,
- Improve the Rental sector, and
- Utilise Existing Housing.
Launching the Action Plan this afternoon, the Taoiseach said, "In forming the current Government, I was determined that the housing challenge was going to be addressed fully and finally which is why it was positioned as a key objective in the Programme for a Partnership Government. The publication of this Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, well within the timeframe of 100 days set out in the Government Programme, underpins our commitment to end the housing shortage and to tackle homelessness. This is a cross-Government plan, which also stretches beyond into the local government and voluntary sectors. I am committed to ensuring that it results in us achieving our critical national ambition of ensuring that all our people have access to quality and affordable housing, either through their own endeavours or with the support of the State. "
Minister Simon Coveney said, “Rebuilding Ireland is a really ambitious and far-reaching initiative by Government to provide homes for people – it is my own, and this Government’s, number one priority. It’s about changing people’s lives by providing affordable stable homes for them and solving the housing challenges that touch practically every family across the country. This Government is committed to a range of measures to reverse the chronic undersupply of new homes that’s making new home purchase and rents increasingly unaffordable and driving more people into homelessness.
This Plan is designed to accelerate all types of housing supply – social, private and rental. It is action-focused and will result in a dramatic increase in the delivery of much needed homes in the right locations at more affordable prices. “Over the next six years, we are going to provide some 47,000 new social houses and we are going to progressively increase housing output generally towards the target of producing 25,000 houses per year through all channels.
While the immediate priority is housing homeless families, many of whom are currently living in hotels, all aspects of the housing system are addressed within the Plan. This means that young people looking to rent or buy, families looking to trade up or down, students who need good accommodation, older people, people with a disability and others are all encompassed within the Plan and its 84 time-bound actions.”
The Minister indicated that the Plan provides a strong platform for action, as well as serving as a focus for debate and discussion as the implementation process moves ahead. “Today’s launch is only our starting point, but it’s crucial that we move from words to actions immediately. We may not have all the answers to address every issue right now but the actions, funding and structures that we are announcing today have the potential to make early and very substantial progress on the journey to fixing our broken housing sector.
My Department will be driving implementation, including through a new dedicated Housing Delivery Office, and we will measure and report on progress regularly. While it’s a huge challenge, it simply has to be done and working with all of the stakeholders involved, across Government and beyond, I’m confident that we will succeed in our ambitions.”
In welcoming the Plan, Mr. Paschal Donohoe T.D., Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, said “we face a number of significant challenges in funding public services brought about by the period of reduced investment following the economic crash. As the economy and employment grows under the sound management of this Government, we will have more resources to address the various challenges in our society. In the meantime, we have to prioritise and fund those areas that need it most.
Amongst the biggest challenges for the Government are the shortage of housing at affordable prices and rents and the unacceptably high level of homelessness. I am, therefore, making available an additional €2,200 million in capital to 2021, or 43% of the available public capital, for investment in housing under this Action Plan, despite the many other demands for public investment that will have to be considered in this year’s estimates and next year’s capital review. Housing will also be a priority for current expenditure in the annual estimates.”
Minister English who has responsibility for Housing & Urban Renewal said, “I welcome the publication of this Plan. Keeping people in their own homes, and building quality new homes including social housing is a key national priority both for society and this Government. Housing. Supply must keep pace with economic and population growth. Rebuilding Ireland will succeed as it is rooted in a wide stakeholder consultation with a multi-agency and cross Departmental support. There is also the political will for our plan on Housing and Homelessness to succeed across all sides of the Oireachtas. I look forward to working with Minister Coveney in driving its implementation in the coming months.”
For more information: www.rebuildingireland.ie