herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Kelly's pledge to clear 90,000 off housing list

Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Governmen Alan Kelly TD
Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Governmen Alan Kelly TD

ENVIRONMENT Minister Alan Kelly has pledged to clear 90,000 people off the social housing list over the next five years.

The Labour Party deputy leader will today unveil a multi-billion euro social housing package aimed at clearing the huge backlog facing local authorities.

Among the measures set to be unveiled are:

lThe construction of 35,000 social housing units by 2020

lA major cash injection in housing schemes in the private rental sector

lA greater involvement in home provision by voluntary housing agencies

lA new model of public housing which aims to assist people priced out of the housing market

Addressing the current housing shortage is seen as being crucial to the Coalition, but particularly the Labour Party.

Labour strategists believe that a major new tranche of properties for social housing tenants will boost the party's core support

Nonetheless, Mr Kelly's plan to clear the 90,000 strong waiting list will be seen as ambitious and is expected to be strongly scrutinised by the opposition.

A government source last night emphasised that the plan to address the housing waiting list will be executed through a number of methods.

cash

Along with the construction of 35,000 properties, the government will pledge a major cash injection in the country's Rental Accommodation and Housing Assistance Payment schemes, known as RAS and HAP.

The RAS scheme is effectively a partnership between local authorities and private landlords and is aimed at low income families.

Meanwhile, the HAP scheme is aimed at people who are unable to pay their rent due to a change in their financial circumstances.

Sources close to Minister Kelly said today's plan represents an "aggressive" approach aimed at tackling the housing crisis.

The overall sum allocated will be greater than €2.2bn.

The news of the housing plan comes as the government's new public appointments service was officially launched.

Four board positions at Irish Water's parent company Ervia are among the first to advertised via the government's new public appointments process.

The semi-state company has revealed it is seeking individuals with experience in finance, engineering and transformational change to fill the four non-executive posts .

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin yesterday said that the new process will lead to greater transparency around appointments to State boards.

hnews@herald.ie

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