Noel Harrington

FINE Gael Cork South West TD, Noel Harrington, has welcomed the allocation of more than €6.5 million to Cork County Council for the provision and improvement of social housing units

A significant portion of the money (€2 million) will be spent on refurbishing and regenerating existing social housing stock, which Deputy Harrington said will benefit expanding families who have outgrown their existing homes.

“This funding is being made available as part of a national allocation of more than €250 million, announced by the Minister for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan. The money will be used to improve the standard and energy efficiency of social housing in Co. Cork.

“At a time when revenues are extremely limited, the Government has to think outside the box when it comes to the provision for social housing. The need for social housing is rising in Meath and right across the country, but the challenges in providing it have never been greater.

“For that reason, we are trying to deliver bigger numbers of social housing in different ways. There is a clear focus on improving housing units that might currently be vacant. It’s expected that an additional 1,500 properties will be made available for re-letting this year through this measure alone. Money will also be spent on improving the energy efficiency and general standard of social housing, particularly older stock. Some families will have outgrown their current social housing units; improvement works could offer a real boost to these families.

“The Capital Advance Leasing Facility will also help to boost the number of social housing units by providing an up-front equity stake of up to 30% of the property value to approved voluntary housing bodies who raise private finance to acquire or build new units, using leasing payments to repay loans in respect of their equity share. It’s hoped this measure will add about 4,000 units nationally.

“A new three-year programme of construction projects will also be announced later this year, which will identify a list of prioritised projects across the country. I am hopeful that Co. Cork  will be included on this list.”