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New Agency Needed Immediately To Oversee Local Authority House Building

By September 8, 2017No Comments

A new non-political agency to oversee the building of local authority houses nationwide must be set up immediately or our housing cisis will not be solved because the Department of the Environment and the local authorities are not able to deliver as things stand.
The solution to our housing crisis is not an easy one to find but it is not an impossible task either and there are practical ways of easing the problems in that sector. In 2015 Minister Alan Kelly announced a 3.8 billion Euro plan to solve the housing crisis bringing the local authorities into the loop, and the target over the six year period of the plan was that 35,000 local authority houses would be built. However that has been proven to be a totally unrealistic plan as it is now evident that as we approach the end of 2017 that the Department of the Envioronment and local authorities around the country do not have the capability to deliver the housing that is required.
In our own area for instance there has not been one local authority house built in counties Roscommon or Galway in the past four years. In fact in the entire country only 75 local authority houses were built in 2015, and 247 in 2016 so clearly there is a huge problem. The Department of the Environemnt are responsible for planning policy and the local authroities have the expertise to impliment that policy, but the simple facts of the matter are that neither the Department or the local authorities are able to actually deliver houses built. It may ruffle some feathers to admit that is the case but it is a reality.
I am aware of a situation in the West of Ireland in recent months where land was aquired and money was in place for the construction of hundreds of houses but an amendment to a local area plan ensured that the plan was held up. This is another example to the log jam that exists in the system as it stands at the moment.
What is needed is a housing agency which would be non political and would comprise of a small number of experts in the housing area. They would be able to access loans internationmally at less than 1% to aquire land for house building. The agency would contract private builders to construct the houses nationwide and when completed they would sell the houses back to the various local authorities around the country. The local authorities would still be responsible for planning and standards. Builders would be ready to go all around if they can see that it is worth their while to build houses under this system.
This agency would also be able to plan up to 10 years ahead and aquire land for future housing development and while it would take a while for the agency to make an impact it would mean a win win situation for everyone in the long term. It would also be a big contributor to the economy in terms of employment, a reduction in the housing list and homelessness, and the growth of rural counties towns and villages.