COUN­CIL TO DE­LIVER 2,800 SO­CIAL HOUS­ING UNITS IN THREE YEARS

Wexford People - - FRONT PAGE - By DAVID TUCKER

WEX­FORD County Coun­cil says al­most 2,800 so­cial hous­ing units will be de­liv­ered in the county be­tween 2017 and 2019.

Coun­cil Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Tom En­right told the be­hind-closed-doors meet­ing that the coun­cil’s progress in de­liv­er­ing the hous­ing pro­gramme was ‘re­mark­able’.

The re­as­sur­ance on hous­ing de­liv­ery was given at a special coun­cil meet­ing ar­ranged at the re­quest of mem­bers who were seek­ing re­as­sur­ance that the tar­gets set out in the coun­cil’s hous­ing pro­gramme would be achieved.

Coun­cil­lors had asked for the meet­ing to be ad­vised of any pos­si­ble de­lays or is­sues that might im­pact on in the de­liv­ery of each of the hous­ing op­tions within the coun­cil’s hous­ing pro­gramme, and sought an up­date on the num­ber of units pro­gressed through the var­i­ous stages of de­liv­ery.

Se­nior hous­ing of­fi­cials told the meet­ing that hous­ing pro­gramme is pro­ceed­ing as planned, how­ever, for­mer mayor Cllr Ge­orge Lawlor crit­i­cised the time it took from con­cept to the cre­ation of new houses, say­ing it was ‘like turn­ing an oil tanker in Wex­ford Har­bour’.

‘We need to ac­cel­er­ate the pro­gramme more. ‘We as a coun­cil need to build more of our own hous­ing and not rely on a pri­vate sec­tor that is too volatile and greedy.. we are still in a cri­sis siu­a­tion when it comes to hous­ing.

‘In the Wex­ford dis­trict alone there are more than 900 peo­ple on the wait­ing list,’ he told this news­pa­per.

Coun­cil chair­man Cllr John Her­garty said so­cial hous­ing needs were at a crit­i­cal level.

The gov­ern­ment’s Hous­ing Strat­egy 2020 has an Ex­che­quer fund­ing com­mit­ment of €5.7bn over the life­time of the Strat­egy.

Wex­ford County Coun­cil ex­pects to spend in ex­cess of €200 mil­lion from this fund in the de­liv­ery of its So­cial Hous­ing Pro­gramme 2017 to 2019.

‘All of the tar­gets set out in the coun­cil’s three­year Pro­gramme are ex­pected to be achieved, with al­most 2,800 so­cial hous­ing units to be de­liv­ered in County Wex­ford in the pe­riod 2017 to 2019,’ said the coun­cil’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager David Minogue.

Di­rec­tor of Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices John Carley and Se­nior Hous­ing Of­fi­cer Padraig O’Gorman pre­sented a de­tailed progress re­port to the meet­ing.

The re­port out­lined the var­i­ous ini­tia­tives avail­able to those seek­ing hous­ing sup­port and showed that strong progress had made by the coun­cil in the de­liv­ery of each as­pect of the pro­gramme:

These in­clude Con­struc­tion, Leas­ing, Hous­ing As­sis­tance Pay­ment (HAP), Rental As­sis­tance Scheme, Vol­un­tary Hous­ing Bod­ies, Pur­chases, Turnkey Projects, Re­pair and Lease, Part Fives and oth­ers.

It also high­lighted the obli­ga­tion of the coun­cil to ob­tain de­part­men­tal ap­proval to each of the four stages in the de­liv­ery of a new hous­ing project, in­clud­ing ap­proval to ad­vance the scheme, ap­proval to com­mence de­tailed de­sign, ap­proval of de­tailed de­sign and cost es­ti­mates and ap­proval of the ten­der re­port.

Mr Minogue said the re­port in­di­cated that de­lays in re­ceiv­ing ap­provals had been re­duced with a marked im­prove­ment in turn­around times in re­la­tion to all schemes on hand.

The meet­ing was at­tended by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of a num­ber of vol­un­tary hous­ing agen­cies who pro­vide so­cial hous­ing in County Wex­ford.

The in­clude Re­spond, Clúid, Co-Oper­a­tive Hous­ing Ire­land, Tuath and Oak­lee Hous­ing.

Mr En­right told mem­bers that the de­liv­ery of al­most 900 units in a sin­gle year rep­re­sents a very strong per­for­mance by any stan­dard, ‘but I want to re­as­sure the Mem­bers that we are not rest­ing on these lau­rels.

‘Rather we will con­tinue to ap­ply the nec­es­sary re­sources and drive each of these projects for­ward to en­sure that the coun­cil meets its obli­ga­tions and fully achieves the chal­leng­ing tar­gets set out in this three year pro­gramme, and in turn sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces the num­bers of fam­i­lies cur­rently seek­ing hous­ing sup­port,’ he said.

Wel­com­ing the up­date, Cllr He­garty said the pro­vi­sion of ad­e­quate and ap­pro­pri­ate hous­ing so­lu­tions is Wex­ford County Coun­cil’s sin­gle most im­por­tant pri­or­ity.

‘There is no sin­gle or easy solution to meet­ing the so­cial hous­ing needs of the pub­lic, which are at a crit­i­cal level.

‘What is re­quired is a two-fold re­sponse - di­rect pro­vi­sion of a wide range of so­cial hous­ing sup­ports, com­bined with the avail­abil­ity of ac­ces­si­ble and af­ford­able pri­vate ac­com­mo­da­tion.

‘This is the struc­ture and di­rec­tion of Wex­ford County Coun­cil’s three-year Hous­ing Pro­gramme which we re­viewed to­day.’

ALL OF THE TAR­GETS SET OUT IN THE COUN­CIL’S THREE-YEAR PRO­GRAMME ARE EX­PECTED TO BE ACHIEVED

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