THE HEAD of housing in Cork City Council has defended the local authority’s record of delivering new homes, insisting that they are on track to exceed many of their targets for 2018.
Brian Geaney told the Evening Echo that they are on course to surpass targets for construction, acquisition, social leasing and deliveries in partnership with Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) this year.
Mr Geaney was responding to the publication of the Social Housing Construction Status Report by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.
The report includes targets and performance for every local authority as of the end of the September 2018.
The targets include the housing delivery targets as outlined under Rebuilding Ireland, but also includes Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) tenancies, the social housing scheme under which tenants can source accommodation in the private market.
Urban authorities, such as Cork City Council, have had particular difficulty in achieving the HAP targets due to the shortage of available properties in the private sector.
In terms of overall achievement, the report states that Cork City Council had delivered 54% of its targets, the third-worst figure in the country. In comparison, Cork County Council had delivered 78% of its required new tenancies and 10 local authorities had exceeded 100%.
However, Mr Geaney insisted that City Hall is on course to exceed the delivery of its Rebuilding Ireland target of 361 homes.
Mr Geaney said: “I can report that this target is being achieved and surpassed by the Council through construction, acquisition of vacant housing units, social leasing and units delivered in partnership with Approved Housing Bodies.
“The Council is delighted to be in a position to report that the anticipated delivery for 2018 will be well in excess of the target set.”
Mr Geaney also defended the performance in terms of HAP tenancies, though conceded that there are challenges in the sector in Cork city.
He said: “A further 864 social housing supports are to be delivered by way of the Housing Assistance Payment and another 30 tenancies through the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). The Council has delivered a total of 679 social housing supports across all these programmes by looking at the snapshot at end of Quarter 3, 2018.”