Council makes Significant Progress in Housing Delivery during 2017
At a Special Meeting of Wexford County Council held this afternoon, Friday 10 November, senior housing officials confirmed that the implementation of the Council’s ambitious Housing Programme is proceeding as planned.
The Government’s Housing Strategy 2020 has an Exchequer funding commitment of €5.7bn over the lifetime of the Strategy, and 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 three-year Programme are expected to be achieved, with almost 2800 social housing units to be delivered in County Wexford in the period 2017 to 2019.
The Special Meeting of the Council had been arranged at the request of the Elected Members, who were seeking reassurance that the targets set out in the Council’s Housing would be achieved. The Members had requested that they be advised of any possible delays or issues that might impact on in the delivery of each of the housing options within the Programme, and sought an update on the number of units progressed through the various stages of delivery.
At this afternoon’s Special Meeting, 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, including Construction, Leasing, Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), Rental Assistance Scheme, Voluntary Housing Bodies, Purchases, Turnkey Projects, Repair and Lease, Part V and others.
The Report 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. The Report indicated that delays in receiving approvals had been reduced of late with a marked improvement in turnaround times in relation to all schemes on hand.
This afternoon’s Special Meeting was also attended by representatives of a number of voluntary Housing Agencies who provide social housing in County Wexford, including Respond, Clúid, Co-Operative Housing Ireland, Tuath and Oaklee Housing. These Agencies also provided an update to the meeting regarding their current operations and outlined their plans to provide further social housing in a number of Wexford locations over the next two years.
Chief Executive of Wexford County Council Mr. Tom Enright addressed the meeting and described the Council’s progress in delivering the Programme as “remarkable”.
“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” said Mr. Enright. “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”
Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, Councillor John Hegarty joined with the Elected Members in welcoming the Report.
“On behalf of the Elected Members, I wish to assure the people of Wexford that the provision of adequate and appropriate housing solutions is Wexford County Council’s single most important priority” said Councillor Hegarty
He continued:”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.
Today’s meeting is about ensuring that the necessary focus is applied and the required resources are made available to achieve the targets set out in that Programme. It is therefore reassuring to see that the Programme is very much on track and that significant progress has being made in meeting the ambitious targets that we set earlier this year”.