The current state of ‘Housing for All’
The minister for housing himself joins me now Dara O’Brien Minister you’re very very welcome to the show um owner Brynn dismissed today’s Summit has a publicity stunt is that what it was yeah well I there’s no surprise there but anyway getting to the the Nova but no it’s not Hospitality stunt it’s a good opportunity to catch up with.
Stakeholders which we did for uh more than half the day today people who are providing homeless Services people who are building homes both local authorities uh Builders themselves and all the different state agencies that are involved so look it’s a very useful catch up I engage with the stakeholders on a regular basis it was actually a.
Very useful morning so I don’t think it’s appropriate or no you’re not dismissing it but it would be dismissed by others and that’s fine but we have a job to do here and a very important one to deal with the biggest issue that faces our country uh you mentioned stakeholders there has been some criticism about the the balance of.
Stakeholders that the uh that the attendees are awaited far more towards the big private developers rather than some of those at the lower end of the spectrum people providing social housing helping the homeless you name it sure no I I don’t uh to be fair I I don’t think that’s that that’s fair and separate to this stakeholder engagement which.
Obviously that the teacher wanted to do it myself and we’ve done that and it’s been good news useful I chair the housing delivery group myself within the department both on social housing I chair the uh the the national homeless action committee which deals with all of the main stakeholders and non-governmental organizations to do a.
Lot of really good Workforce on the ground and actually it was split up into three different modules there today where everyone had an opportunity to uh to put their points across if you like to resolve housing we need all sectors working together we need private we need public the state’s the biggest player in housing uh now like this year now we’ll.
Invest about four and a half billion on behalf of our citizens to deliver social Homes at scale again this year at more affordable homes which is what people people want and people need those who are feel that they’ve been locked out of of the housing market I want them to be able to buy a home at an affordable price and thankfully in 2022 we saw the.
First of those homes coming in now we want to scale that up further and so no I think the balance was pretty good to be fair the discussions were good it was very open and it’s just an opportunity as we start the new year to get uh to get a further sense of you know okay what direction we’re going in we have a housing plan that’s comprehensive.
There’s nothing comparable to it out there and they’re really important not just a plan it’s fully funded uh Kieran like and lots of people have not yet felt the changes that are happening there are improvements in certain areas as I said on delivery of cost rental affordable uh delivery of the first home scheme which we’ve had 780 approvals.
Already in a in a few short months that’s 780 households able to buy their homes at an affordable rate and we’re going to deliver very significant amounts of new builds uh in 2022 and I want to do more uh in a new build social that is and I want to do more of that in 2023 this year notwithstanding the channel challenges that Ireland has and.
Indeed right across Europe and the developed world with regard to increased costs of why but then increased funding costs if the plan is so comprehensive and on track why is your own Department under spending on it 340 million no I think what we what we what we had um allowed for and by the way the final spending figures you know in will come.
As the appropriation accounts in February March of this year along with the the final delivery figures for 2022 uh we had thought and and got the the maximum 10 carryover into next year on Capital which which we’ve had to do over the last two years because of constraints and delivery those constraints related very much to to big.
Construction shutdowns due to covert and also the issues earlier this year around supply chain uh and around cost inflation which we did get a handle on but the good thing is is that like we’re going to well exceed the housing Target for 2022. uh we set a Target at twenty four thousand six I think we’ll be close up towards 27 28 000. and now that’s not.
Enough but that just shows that the targets that we’ve set are Baseline targets they’re they’re the floor we want to do more than that and we’ve said 29 000 for this year coming so like why are those numbers important they’re important because they’re new homes for people they’re homes for people you know on we’re waiting on the social housing.
List affordable homes for people and yes private homes we need them too whilst we’re continuing to do and really ramp up tackling vacancy and that’s another area that we really need to do a lot of work on leave the vacancy Grant in place now where we’ve had nearly 800 applications in four months and that’s about bringing you know empty homes back.
Into you scrounges up to 50 000 Euro to help homeowners buy those homes and do them up so everything’s not perfect and I’m not on your show to say that I know that I’m acutely aware of it but it’s moving in the right direction and really we have the capital to to deliver on our plan the plans only you know 15 16 months old and we have been able to.
Affect a step change in housing delivery particularly on public housing like I expect to deliver significantly more new build social homes in 2022 one of the final figures in the next few weeks then word was done in from many many years and we want to build on that and why if thing things are moving in the right direction.
Are all the numbers or not all the numbers you cited some numbers there I suppose in the asset column but why are there still so many numbers in the liability call you moving in the wrong direction homelessness at record figures rent at record levels and yes highest price is still growing though the rate of.
Growth has slowed down a lot of people would say that’s actually nothing to do with the government housing fraud and that’s just to do with interest rates So Christine Lagarde has done more to moderate house prices than Daryl Brian I think look fundamentally your eyes look the issue of homelessness is the number one that’s the point we we want.
To see that number come down I I meet with uh people who who are homeless on a regular basis and and the the organization to look after them and the big thing is we’re getting good exits from homelessness but we’re having a lot of new people presenting I brought in the the temporary eviction ban to be able to give us some space in that.
Regard to bring on additional uh Supply and we’ll look at any measure there that will help actually really get to grips with us and one of the measures is Supply frankly like we do need to to ramp up the supply particularly of public housing and we’re doing that no need to get up to even levels above what we’re delivering at the moment and uh I.
Think by any further assessment people will recognized that that last year at particularly at the beginning of the year post the breakout of the war on Ukraine was uh very challenging particularly around supply chain and and material inflation but we’re getting to grips with that and the positive thing is is that like we have a good pipeline.
For this year a good Pipeline on all tenures and there are challenges there will be challenges this year and certainly into next and it’s about what the government can do to step in to provide that additionality