Housing Strategy will address shortage and reform social housing – Buttimer

Social Housing PolicyWednesday, 26th November 2014

  • 110,000 homes by 2020 including 35,000 additional social housing units
  • Social Housing Strategy 2020 will address current housing shortage and provide homes for those who need them

The Social Housing Strategy announced by the Government today will deal with the housing shortage in this country. Around 35,000 social housing units will be supplied by 2020. The needs of a further 75,000 households will be met through the Housing Assistance Payment and the Rental Accommodation Scheme.

The Government will put in place a tenant purchase scheme for existing tenants in the coming months.  We’re committed to making social housing more flexible and responsive to people’s needs and individual circumstances and include social housing as part of mixed developments.

This ambitious national plan to supply 35,000 social housing units will be completed through the building and acquisition of over 22,000 units, the lease of 11,000 units and the return to use of over 2,000 units.

A major part of the strategy is also the reform of social housing and the way it is allocated. The Housing Assistance Payment is designed to ensure people have the accommodation they need and is currently being introduced on a phased basis in a number of Local Authorities and will be widespread by 2015. It differs from the Rent Supplement as it allows people to take up work without losing their payment, and to avail of other social housing supports and options.

This plan on social housing is not just good news for those waiting on the list and also very positive for the construction industry, with potential for job creation in an industry that was badly hit by the economic crash. It is estimated that the strategy will see the creation of 29,000 jobs

Posted under Development, Environment, National Work

Need for increased awareness of homelessness problem – Buttimer

Thursday, 16th October 2014

  • Focus Ireland’s Shine a Light Night 2014 raises awareness of the increasing problem of homelessness.
  • Charity sleep out takes place on Friday 17th October 2014 

Focus Ireland Shine a Light Night - logo 2014Over recent years housing and social difficulties have led to a visible increase in the numbers of people who are homeless.  It is important that as a society we are aware of this problem, that we understand the underlying causes of homelessness and that we take steps to provide viable alternatives.  Focus Ireland’s Shine a Light Night 2014 raises important awareness of this increasing problem and I am delighted to be able to take part in this year’s event.

For many of us our impression of homelessness is of people sleeping rough in doorways and on the streets. However, this is only part of a much greater issue. There are families, single men, single women living in unsuitable, insecure and temporary accommodation all over Ireland. It is frightening to think that one in seven accessing a homeless service is a child. Tonight’s event is an opportunity for those of us taking part to highlight these issues and to contribute to the fundraising efforts of Focus Ireland.

I was very pleased this week when additional funding to help tackle homelessness was provided as part of Budget 2015.  An additional €10.5 million will be provided for accommodation and related services for homeless people.  This brings the annual spend on tackling homelessness to €55.5 million in 2015.  The strong commitment by Government to developing social housing will help to ensure the availability of essential and sustainable long-term housing options that can help tackle homelessness.


Focus Ireland Shine a Light Night - Etag final

Posted under Cork, Environment, National Work, Social Protection

Buttimer welcomes Minister’s decision on funding under SSNO scheme

Friday, July 18th 2014

  • Minister for the Environment restores funding to a number of health, disability and other organisations following review of the SSNO scheme

A number of organisations which provide great work were left not just extremely disappointed, but facing closure, after they failed to secure funding under the Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO).

I expressed concern about the impact of this on the groups involved on a number of occasions over the last few weeks. Many of these groups only get a small amount of funding from the Government, but it is absolutely vital for their survival. And without their good work, minority groups would suffer.

Minister Kelly has now decided to restore funding to groups which had previously received monies under the scheme, and which submitted valid applications this year. Bridging finance totalling just under €1.3 million for a 12 month period is being approved to avoid a sudden and adverse impact on these organisations.

A review will now be undertaken to ensure public money is being well spent and that there is no unnecessary duplication. While we must ensure efficiency and transparency, we must also not lose sight of humanity in the process. Small groups such as those funded under the SSNO scheme provide fantastic support, and I am glad that they can now plan ahead for the next twelve months with certainty.

Posted under Children & Youth Affairs, Environment, Health, National Work