A HOUSING SUMMIT chaired by minister Eoghan Murphy has concluded at the Custom House in Dublin this evening.
The Housing Minister was meeting with the heads of the 31 local authorities of Ireland.
It was billed by Murphy as an opportunity “to explore new options and to see how we can better join up our response across local authorities but also across health and social care supports” in order to tackle the housing crisis.
It was announced at a press conference this evening that, amongst other measures, a “homeless inter-agency group” is to be established immediately “to deliver homeless services in a coherent and joined-up way between the relevant departments and agencies”.
The new group will be chaired by a former a former department secretary general.
A further €10 million in funding for more family hubs is also being ring-fenced, as demand arises from local authorities, to be drawn down this year, according to a statement from Murphy this evening. This is in addition to funding announcements for family hubs in June.
Family hubs – which have shared kitchen and common areas – were introduced as an alternative to housing homeless families in hotels and B&Bs.
200 additional emergency beds for individuals will be in place in Dublin by December this year, according to the minister this evening.
The beds announced this evening had already been flagged by the housing department. Over 200 beds were also added to the system in 2016 “and a similar amount is currently in progress,” yesterday’s statement said.
A new mortgage to rent scheme is also on the way and will be announced in the coming weeks, according to Murphy.
He told reporters: “Sometimes no matter what we do, it won’t be enough… People will ask if this is enough.
It is not enough. More will come.
The minister also announced a change to social housing policy – the budget is being redirected away from acquisitions “and into direct build programmes for local authorities and housing bodies”.
As a result, according to this evening’s statement, the current target for 2018 of around 3,000 newly built homes will increase by almost 30% to 3,800.
“That’s 800 new social housing homes to be built next year,” the statement says.
When asked about this number, Murphy said that the government was starting “from a really low base”, and that was doing everything it could to drive that figure up.
As a result of homes delivered from private sites and old social housing stock that is being renovated, it’s planned around 5,000 new social housing homes will be delivered in 2018.
In total 8,160 people, including dependents, were recorded as homeless in figures for July released yesterday.
A total of 1,429 families were recorded as homeless in one week in July – an increase of 299 compared to the same week last year.