The Government has vowed to consign the city’s housing waiting list to history within six years, with a targeted multi-million Euro investment package in new social housing.
As many as 1,000 new social houses will be built in Galway City between now and 2020, as the Coalition promises to clear the housing waiting list.
The housing list currently stands at about 4,000 households in the city and will be eradicated, the Government says, through this new-build programme and other measures.
The Labour Party is driving the initiative, which will result in at least 35,000 new social houses being built across the country over six years.
The party’s Galway West TD, Derek Nolan said the strategy has several planks. It will kick-start the construction industry, which is currently dormant; it will increase supply of housing, and so reduce demand for rented accommodation and help to reduce rents; and it will provide housing for the needy who will never be in a position to afford their own home.
Deputy Nolan said the announcement signalled the “biggest ever investment in social housing in the history of the State”.
The previous Government, when the economy collapsed, ceased all state construction of housing, he said.
“We are tearing up the Fianna Fáil policy on social housing, we’re total reversing their policy and going back to what works. And what works is social housing and building more social houses,” he said.
Some €3.8 billion will be available for the social housing project and it is up to each local authority to apply for their share. It will be funded by the exchequer and through loans from the European Investment Bank.
Deputy Nolan said the initiative had been ‘flagged’ with the City Council five months ago. He said since then Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, has been identifying land in the city for new social housing and preparing the groundwork so that building can start as soon as possible.
“The plan is that 35,000 new social houses will be delivered by 2020 and the housing needs of 75,000 households will be met through the rented sector meaning that everyone on the housing list should be accommodated by 2020. It is up to each local authority to apply for funding but Galway City should be in line for at least 1,000, if not more, new social housing units. I will be pushing for at least 1,000 for the city,” said Deputy Nolan.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.