Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Barry Cowen TD has obtained new information which shows that Local Authorities are paying €27m a year to lease out 3,429 private properties across the country.
These properties form part of the 50,000 Re-Building Ireland new social housing targets. In addition to this the Government pays another €300m for 32,000 Housing Assistance Payment recipients and an additional €180m for 34,000 rent supplement recipients.
Taken together, over €500m is being spent each year on private homes for social housing needs rather than being spent on building new homes which will have a lasting value for the State.
Deputy Cowen said, “These latest figures show the heavy reliance of the Government on the private market to meet their Re-Building Ireland targets. While the number of direct build homes continues to fall below what was set out, the money being spent on the private sector underlines the need to invest in bricks and mortar directly by the Government.
“It costs around €180,000 for the Government to build an average social house. It could build the same amount of houses it is currently privately leasing and have it repaid in full within 23 years.
“The model of reliance on the private market and reluctance to put bricks and mortar in the ground is costing us money, some €500m in total each year between leasing HAP and rent supplement. That money could build an additional 2,500 new direct build homes.”
“The Government is misleading people with its target of 50,000 new social housing units when only 27,000 of them will actually be new direct build homes. We need to be much more ambitious about direct build and shift away from the millions being spent paying private property owners. It doesn’t make any financial sense.”