LARGER-scale housing projects will have to be delivered by Cork City Council as its housing list continues to grow, a councillor has warned.
The list lengthened in January to 3,971, while just 25 homes were allocated that month. A further 2,041 applicants are availing of the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme, while 32 applicants are awaiting reports.
The council has 35 housing schemes — amounting to 460 homes, either completed or in construction — but none of these provides more than 80 homes in each. Eleven further schemes are in the planning stages and will amount to a further 398 homes.
However, Thomas Gould (SF) said that at least 2,000 homes a year will have to be delivered to reduce the housing list.
“If you look at the number of eligible applicants and the number of people on RAS and HAP, that gives the true figure of 6,045 seeking housing,” he said.
“There is also a number of people who are coming off the list every month, because of improving economic circumstances, that are earning too much to be on the housing list but are still in need of housing. We can’t capture that number. These people are paying huge rents, but can’t qualify for social housing and can’t get a mortgage, because they are not earning enough,” he added.
Mr Gould is urging council officials to target more large-scale housing projects.
“The problem with the schemes under construction is that they are all small developments. Larger-scale projects are key. If the council is only allocating 25 houses a month, your chances of getting a house are very low. There’s very little hope for people. The process of delivering houses takes too long. In 2011, I put in a motion to build 700-800 houses on the Old Whitechurch Road site. Only last month did we get permission to carry out the €11m infrastructure works required,” he added.
City Hall director of housing, Brian Geaney, said the council exceeded all targets set for the delivery of housing by the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland programme last year. “At the outset of the Rebuilding Ireland programme, due to Cork City’s confined and limited urban space and related constraints, Cork City Council faced significant stakeholder, legal, engineering, and other challenges that would normally not be faced by most local authorities,” he said.