Housing officer defends City Council’s delivery record

Housing officer defends City Council’s delivery record
Cllr Thomas Gould.Picture: Jim Coughlan

CITY Hall’s director of housing has defended the local authority’s record amid claims from councillors that it is not delivering enough homes and is understaffed.

Councillor Thomas Gould (SF) said the council needs to build at least 2,000 homes a year in order to reduce the housing list which has stretched to 3,971 and claimed the homelessness and housing crisis is worsening.

However, Brian Geaney, director of housing at the local authority, said the council has exceeded all its targets with 460 homes in construction this month and a further 562 homes in the planning process. “I do not accept Councillor Gould’s suggestion that the crisis is getting worse,” he said.

“People need to remember that this council built one house in 2014 and it built 292 houses in 2018 so this council has come a long, long way in a short period of time.

“We are boxing way above our weight in the national context and that has been acknowledged.

“Homeless continues to be a challenge and I accept that but I do feel our delivery is weighted towards the end of the year and as those units are now being occupied I do feel we are going to see changes and reductions in homelessness over the coming weeks.

“We have a target set by Rebuilding Ireland of 2,220 homes by 2021 and 685 of that figure is to be provided through new construction through the council and approved housing bodies. Our target was exceeded by 28% in 2018. For building, we are at 117% of our target, which is a huge achievement,” he added.

However, Des Cahill (FG) said he feels the council is not adequately staffed to deal with housing issues and criticised its housing delivery.

“It’s frustrating trying to resolve anyone’s issues with the housing department. There [are housing projects] announced six months ago that still haven’t been built. People are being told if they are not on the list 10 years, forget about it. There are a lot of things still broken [in housing].

“While I appreciate we are meeting our targets, a lot of our delivery is still falling short. It has to be lack of competence why certain things are not happening in City Council. It’s not a lack of funding,” he added.

Mr Geaney said he is “very disappointed” with Mr Cahill’s comments.

“Councillors make representations but we don’t have a house for everybody. The average wait for a house is seven and a half years. If you are on the list three or four months, you are not going to get a house but there are other options open.

“Staff work under very difficult circumstances,” he added.

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