Fianna Fáil Finance spokesperson Michael McGrath has called on NAMA to considerably step up the delivery of social housing units in 2015 following the release of data which shows that just 12% of housing units identified by NAMA as suitable for social housing purposes have actually been delivered to date.

As at the end of September 2014, NAMA had identified 5,482 units for potential use as social housing but just 12% or 669 had actually been delivered with a further 257 committed. By contrast, 52% of units were no longer under consideration as they have already been sold or have been deemed unsuitable for social housing.

Deputy McGrath commented “The delivery of social housing through NAMA has been a tortuous process. It is very disappointing that over half of the houses and apartments put forward by NAMA will never reach the point of being used to alleviate the massive social housing waiting list in the country. Section 2 of the NAMA Act 2009 obliges the agency to contribute to the “social and economic development of the State”.

“Notwithstanding the progress that NAMA has made on repaying its debt, it is difficult to conclude that the agency is fulfilling its mandate to contribute to the social development of the State. NAMA is now entering the final phase of its work in 2015 with suggestions that it may be wound up well ahead of its original 2020 end date. As of now, it looks like it will deliver less than 2% of the entire social housing needs of the country. This is despite its position as the entity in effective control of the largest property portfolio in the country.

“In December 2011, we had announcement amid great fanfare from the Minister for the Environment that NAMA would deliver 2,000 social houses by August 2012. Three years after that announcement, as has been the case with so many government pledges, delivery has not met with expectations. Social housing has become an even more acute issue in recent times given rising property prices and rents. NAMA in itself cannot solve the housing needs of the country but it can make a significant contribution.

“We need to examine urgently why so few of the units put forward to date have actually come to fruition. Particular attention needs to be focused on why so many units have been deemed unsuitable. It may be that NAMA and the local authorities / housing agencies need to review how they interact with each other for the next phase of units which are considered. Tackling the social housing crisis must be a national priority in 2015, NAMA must be at the forefront of the State’s efforts in this regard.”

Please find below Parliamentary Question and Reply on subject of social housing.

To ask the Minister for Finance the reason a high proportion of housing units identified by the National Asset Management Agency as suitable for social housing are not being taken up by local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Michael McGrath TD

REPLY.

I am advised by NAMA that the detail sought by the Deputy is available, for the period to end-September 2014, on the Agency’s website, https://www.nama.ie/social-initiatives/social-housing/. I am advised by NAMA that this information is updated quarterly and is also published on the website of the Housing Agency, www.housing.ie. As the Deputy is aware, NAMA has no role in determining the take-up of properties that it has made available for social housing as this is a matter for Housing Agency in conjunction with local authorities by reference to national and local housing and planning policy.