Environment Minister Alan Kelly at a housing development in Glasnevin, Dublin yesterday
You’ll recall how, last week, the minister for housing Paudie Coffey appeared on Claire Byrne Live following the broadcast of documentary My Homeless Family on RTÉ One – saying:
“In the last year as well, this Government and, you know, this society has provided 13,000 additional housing units for people. That’s up 86% on previous years…”
The claim prompted criticism online.
Further to this…
Environment Minister and deputy Labour leader Alan Kelly was interviewed by Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One this morning.
At the start of their discussion, Mr Kelly was asked about the 13,000 social housing figure.
Alan Kelly: “We’ve used every avenue possible to us to ensure 13,000 keys were given over to people. That’s up 86% on the previous year by the way. And it breaks down, we put a huge interest in voids which are social housing units that are boarded up. People around the country, and particularly those listening in Dublin, know what I’m talking about – 2,700 of those done this year, about 2,500 done the year before. And ‘buy and build’ was over in excess of 1,000, the CALF (Capital Advance Leasing Facility) scheme which is funding which is given out through AHBs (approved housing bodies) 350…”
Sean O’Rourke: “Sorry there’s a bit of alphabet soup there that I don’t understand and…”
Kelly: “Basically, it’s funding that’s given to approved housing bodies to go out and build different units.”
O’Rourke: “And how many came from that?”
Kelly: “Regeneration, about 112. About, from leasing, about just under 2,000 and, from the Housing Assistance Payment, just under 6,000. So that’s how you get your…”
O’Rourke: “Yeah because they make the point that when you take the figure of 13,000, that these units are in now way new social housing units – many are pre-existing households in receipt of rent supplement, you’re simply moving them to new schemes.”
Kelly: “That simply isn’t true and it doesn’t bear facts. For instance, all those voids which are boarded-up units weren’t in existence. They were the quickest way in which we could turn around units and create new units. Where we’re leasing units and buying units, they are new units, they’re available in stock as well. And actually the 13,…”
O’Rourke: “But they’re taking units out of the market and making them available to other people.”
Kelly: “Yeah but in some cases, that’s necessary and in other cases, we don’t chases the market. But in some cases, there’s good value out there as well when you’re buying. I mean there’s no point in building some units in parts of the country when it’s actually cheaper to buy. These figures are actually conservative because, you know, the local authorities themselves, this is the units that are directly funded through my department. The local authorities themselves do a lot of work. There’s also the natural amount of progression you have in houses whereby social housing units pass on from one person to the other because of various different reasons, people moving away, people passing away, etc. So the number of people’s houses is more than that.”
Listen back in full here
Previously: How Few?