Increase in discretionary funding for social housing projects welcome
– Department needs to look at approval process
The increase in discretionary funding for social housing projects from €2m to €6m has been welcomed by Labour Housing Spokesperson, Senator Rebecca Moynihan.
Moynihan said that the Department needs to look at streamlining the approval process further and to increase funding for community facilities to support local authority housing.
Senator Moynihan said:
“I welcome the announcement by the Minister for Housing that the local authority discretionary fund will increase from September of this year as public housing is a key part of the solution to solving the housing crisis.
“However, the Minister also needs to look at the approval process as at present it can take anything up to 5 years to bring a complex of social housing apartments from inception to completion and this is unacceptable. The current system is overtly bureaucratic and needs to be revised to allow for the quicker transfer of funding from the Department to local authorities. Even though the system was revised down from eight steps by the previous Minister, there is still far too much back and forth involved. Local authorities need more autonomy to build and a robust system of checks and balances needs to be put in place.
“There also needs to be funding for community facilities to support local authority housing. Many of the social problems that occurred with large scale local authority builds in the past occurred because of a lack of suitable facilities to support the communities and we need to ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past and ensure that we build sustainable communities and not just housing.
“While I cautiously welcome the announcement, the key will be the delivery and the Minister needs to streamline the approval process further for that to occur in a timely fashion.