D15 left out of new €19m social housing projects

by Gazette Reporter

Four housing projects in Fingal, totalling €18.97m have been announced by Environment Minister Alan Kelly.
However, none of these projects will be in Dublin 15.
Fifty houses will be built at Racecourse Commons, Lusk, eight houses will be built at The Grange, Ballyboughill, 24 houses will be built at Castlelands, Balbriggan, and 25 houses will be built at Rathbeale Road, Swords.
Cllr David McGuinness (Ind) said there was a huge housing crisis in Blanchardstown, and the fact that no social houses were planned in this tranche of the funding for the area isn’t good enough.
A spokesperson for Fingal County Council said the feasibility of a number of sites in Dublin 15 were being considered for social housing projects.
This is the first phase in a six-year plan to reduce the numbers on housing lists for which Minister Kelly has allocated €81m to the council.
However, not everyone is satisfied with the plan as figures show that 75% of the units to be made available will be subsidised private rented accommodation and only 396 units will be council houses.
The council plans to house 1,566 families from the housing list over the next three years, 1,170 of these in subsidised private rented schemes.
Cllr Paul Donnelly (SF) said these figures, coupled with the unavailability of rented accommodation in Dublin 15 and the refusal of many landlords to accept rent supplement mean the scheme was unfeasible.
“The only winners from Minister Kelly’s targets are private landlords who will benefit handsomely from these subsidies,” he said.
“Two hundred and thirteen families will be in leases of between four and 10 years in the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and 957 families will be offered the Long Term Leasing Initiative.
“However, families will still be living in private rented accommodation and ultimately with the same uncertainty.
Deputy Ruth Coppinger (AAA) said the Government was relying on the private sector and private landlords to house families and this won’t work because landlords were not interested in the Housing Assistance Payment scheme and the RAS scheme because they could get much higher rents from non-social housing applicants.
“The only way we’re going to solve the devastation that’s going on is by giving money to councils to build houses,” she said.
She went on to say that repossessions were continuing apace and her Blanchardstown office was inundated every day with families were are sleeping in cars.
A spokesperson from the Department of Environment said it was confident the social housing strategy would address housing needs in Fingal, saying the council would be given housing targets over and above what they proposed to the Department to ensure delivery where need was greatest.
A spokesperson for the council said it would continue to avail of all social housing delivery mechanisms in order to deliver housing in Fingal.

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