Monday 29 August 2011

100,000 seeking social housing

THE number of people seeking to be housed by the state has significantly increased, according to the Minister of State for Housing, Willie Penrose.

Speaking in Mullingar over the weekend, he said figures to be published soon will show almost 100,000 people on the housing list.

While there may be some adjustment to that figure to account for people availing of schemes such as rent supplement, Mr Penrose said there is "a significant increase in the number of people seeking housing".

He said his department is trying to co-ordinate ways of providing housing but "because of the troika we are not in a position to go the traditional route of building and acquisition".

Therefore, a "significant" number of those houses will have to be provided by the voluntary and community housing sector.

Mr Penrose said: "We will be making every effort to ensure that where possible, either through long-term leasing initiatives or through rental schemes or rent with a purchase option at the end, that all options will be explored so that people who require decent living accommodation can be provided with it."
At the same time, his department is planning to have 300 site resolution plans prepared by January to deal with ghost estates, which Mr Penrose said he prefers to call "unfinished housing developments".

He said: "We are looking to see how can that particular estate be tackled with a view to either finishing it, or applying for planning permission to modify the original plans to try and get it completed.

"It may well involve some areas of ground which were designated originally under the planning permission for construction of houses, that might go for community use."

He said his department is "trying to get some social dividend", from NAMA, developers and contractors with responsibility for those estates.

When asked if there may be a mechanism considered to assist people who bought homes in ghost estates and who are in negative equity to be allowed to move to other estates, Mr Penrose said his responsibility is to deal with unfinished developments.

Irish Examiner

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