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Minister Penrose announces publication of Social Housing Needs Assessment 2011


The Minister for Housing and Planning, Mr. Willie Penrose T.D, today (19 September, 2011) announced the publication, by the Housing Agency, of the 2011 Local Authority Social Housing Needs Assessment.  The Minister also highlighted a number of initiatives that will play a major role in meeting the needs of households identified in the needs assessment, including the continued use of long term leasing arrangements to increase the supply of social housing.

Minister Penrose said “This year a national assessment of the need for social housing support was carried out.   The overall results indicate that at 31 March 2011 just over 98,000 households were in need compared with over 56,000 in 2008, an increase of over 75%”.

The Minister re-affirmed the Government’s commitment to ensuring that as many households as possible would be provided with accommodation over the next three years. The Minister went on to say:

“Despite the fact that the number of households who are in receipt of rental assistance from the state, either in social housing or through rent supplement, is the highest ever, the increase in the net need figures indicates that much more must be done. Clearly, while the high numbers of applicants for support reflect the impact of the recession, and one would hope that as this eases the demand for support will also reduce, there remains a continuing and high demand for social housing that the state is committed to addressing over the next three years”.

Referring to the recent Housing Policy Statement, the Minister said that the key to increasing the overall level of social housing was to adopt a flexible and multilayered approach to meeting housing need. “There is no single solution”, he said. “The State must look to all sources of supply, in particular the vacant and unfinished properties that litter the country. It must work with a range of public, private, voluntary and co-operative housing bodies, and it must look to investment from the financial institutions as well as the Exchequer.

In conclusion, the Minister said that the key to increasing output over the next few years is to put in place a better regulated, more dynamic and properly managed supported housing sector. “Many of the building blocks are already in place”, he said “in particular the leasing initiative.  But there is more to do, such as the regulation of the voluntary/co-operative sector, the transfer of responsibility for households on rent supplement and who are in need of housing support to local authorities and the ongoing work to address the overhang in the housing market, especially from unfinished estates. These are my priorities for 2012”.

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