Housing agency Clúid has welcomed the €2.2 billion capital investment in social housing announced in the Budget this week.
The agency, which has provided 256 homes in Galway, said this amounted to a trebling in capital funding for social housing.
“We are absolutely delighted with this increase,” said Simon Brooke, head of policy at Clúid. “It will enable housing associations to provide over 2,000 new homes over the next three years. Between housing associations and local authorities the Government estimates that over 10,000 new social rented homes will be provided by 2017.
“There are currently 90,000 households on housing waiting lists across the country,” Mr Brooks added. “Of these, we estimate that 30,000 households are living in seriously substandard housing.”
Capital spending on social housing was €1.48 billion in 2007, but by 2014 it had been cut by 85 per cent. “Consequently, social house building has collapsed,” Mr Brooks said. “In 2007, local authorities and housing associations produced 8,700 new homes; by 2013 this had slumped to 757, a staggering drop of over 90 per cent.”
Clúid estimates that at least 5,000 new social homes are needed per year to reduce housing waiting lists.
“We will not get there today, but this new spending means that housing associations and local authorities can start to build social housing again,” he said. “Investment in social housing is good for the economy because it creates employment and increases economic activity, and at the same time it meets a vitally important social need.”