Do you believe it?
Mr. Noel Ahern T.D., Minister for Housing & Urban Renewal today (23 January 07) announced an investment programme of some €18 billion in Housing over the next seven years.
Speaking at the launch of the Social Infrastructure Priority of the NDP, the Minister said:
"An estimated 140,000 new households will have their accommodation needs met over the coming seven years. To achieve this, ambitious targets of 60,000 new units of social housing have been set and it is estimated that some 40,000 affordable homes will also be provided over the NDP period. Other households will benefit from the Rental Accommodation Scheme, under contractual arrangements with landlords for existing properties transferring from rent supplement, as well as from accommodation made available through vacancies normally arising in social housing and other social housing measures."
The investment of €18 billion, rising to €21 billion when rent allowance expenditure is taken into account, builds on the commitments agreed in Towards 2016. It is framed against the backdrop of the NESC report on Housing, acknowledging the recommendation of that report to expand the supply while maintaining an important focus on the quality of housing.
The Minister added:
"The Housing Policy Framework, launched at the end of 2005, set the building of sustainable communities as its guiding principle for our investment and this is reflected in the NDP. A new housing policy statement, due to be published in February, will provide greater detail on the actions required if the goals in the Framework document are to be achieved. The key objective in all of this is to build sustainable communities and to use resources to meet individual needs in a manner that facilitates personal choice and autonomy."
The Minister concluded:
"We are setting out a challenging but exciting vision for housing. One that is necessary to meet the needs of our growing population and to ensure that those who have affordability problems, or special housing needs, can be offered a greater range of choices to improve their position. Invariably with the launch of a seven year National Development Plan, there is a welter of statistical references in terms of investment figures, targets and outputs. But when the enormous sums of money that have been provided under the Housing Programme of this NDP are broken down, what we are about is providing homes. We will be using this investment wisely to provide choice and new opportunities for the maximum number of households."