Reacting to the figures, Colm Ward, Director of Services said, “Local authorities take the lead in addressing the very difficult issues faced on housing. We are absolutely committed to meeting the challenge, and the 2018 figures leave no doubt that we are delivering on our targets and making crucial progress for the individuals and families we support”. “As the figures show, social housing output is increasing year-on-year. Working in partnership with AHBs and the Department of Housing, SDCC will continue to increase our capacity and accelerate our delivery.” Last year, a total of 593 new homes were added to SDCC’s social housing stock though build, acquisition or long-term leasing. This represents 110% more homes than had been targeted.
He pointed out that, “Local authority housing, once built or acquired, is state-owned; it is an investment that will continue to provide for those in need of housing into the future. Local authorities currently own and manage more than 130,000 homes around the country, each additional unit provided by local authorities is added to that stock. That is why it is so important to ensure the homes we deliver are well-planned, built to last, of high-quality, and situated within communities and with nearby services. “While we build up our stock of social housing, supports like the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), administered through local authorities, provide us with a flexible way to provide accommodation for those in need.” In 2018, local authorities supported 1194 additional households though HAP and RAS.
Last year, 63 homes were acquired for by SDCC and Approved Housing Bodies for use as social housing. Homes acquired by local authorities form part of the social housing stock in the same way they would, had they been new builds. Often, it can be quicker and more cost-effective to acquire a home rather than to build, particularly in areas where demand may not be strong and where an existing home better meets the needs of the tenants”.