Minister Coveney announces the locations for over 450 new social housing units being developed through Public Private Partnership

Published on Thursday, 21 Jul 2016
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The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Simon Coveney T.D., today (21 July, 2016) announced that he has approved site locations for over 450 new social housing units which are to be delivered through a public private partnership (PPP) programme.  The social housing with a capital value of approximately €100 million is being developed at eight sites in co-operation with the local authorities in each area.  Three of the sites are located in County Cork, with one each in the cities of Galway and Waterford.  There is a further one site each in counties Clare, Kildare and Roscommon.

The funding is part of a programme of investment totalling €300 million in social housing through the public private partnership model.   The programme is to deliver 1,500 social housing units.

To enable delivery to commence as quickly as possible, the PPP programme is being rolled out in three bundles.  Today’s announcement is for the second bundle of sites.  The first bundle comprising six separate sites located in the greater Dublin area was announced in October 2015.  The eight sites being announced today are located across the country in six different local authority areas.

Sites for the third and final bundle with a further capital value of €100 million will be announced by the Minister before the end of 2016.  The location details of the eight social housing PPP sites announced today by the Minister are:

  Site Units
The Walk, Roscommon Town, Co. Roscommon 53
2 The Miles, Clonakilty, Co. Cork 50
3 Slievekeale, Waterford City 50
4 Ballyburke, Galway City 73
5 Shannon East, Co. Clare 50-60
6 Poundhill, Skibbereen, Co. Cork 50
7 Oakwood, Macroom, Co. Cork 50-60
8 Butterstream, Clane, Co. Kildare 80
  Total 456/476

In making the announcement, Minister Simon Coveney said: “On Tuesday last, I launched Rebuilding Ireland: An Action Plan for Housing & Homelessness, and PPPs are part of the plan to accelerate the supply of social housing, which is the second pillar of that Plan".

The Minister added, “Today I am announcing eight locations where over 450 social houses are being developed through public private partnership.  €100 million is being invested to deliver these new homes.  We have a significant shortage of housing supply and need to use every feasible means to meet this challenge.  PPP provides us with an effective mechanism to fund and deliver additional badly-needed social housing units.

Each of the sites is being delivered with the full co-operation and participation of individual local authorities in the relevant locations.

PPP is a complicated, but worthwhile initiative.  It allows central and local government to harness the private sector to deliver social housing.   €300 million is being invested overall.  This is money that would otherwise not be available for the development of social housing.

Today’s announcement is for the second of three bundles of sites and I expect to announce a third bundle with a value of €100 million later in 2016."

The investment announced today is part of the wider commitment by the Government to deliver social housing and to tackle the major housing supply problem facing the country.

The PPP model now being used for social housing is distinct from previous housing PPP projects in a number of ways.  Principally the new model is purely to facilitate the delivery of social housing units for the State.  It does not include private housing.  The ‘availability based’ model being applied has been used successfully in Ireland for over 15 years to deliver roads, schools and courthouses.  It involves the procurement of a consortium to design, build, finance and maintain (for 25 years) social housing units on sites provided by the State.  During the 25-year contract period the sites remain in State ownership (as distinct from previous housing PPP projects).  The housing units are returned to the State after 25 years in a predefined, good quality condition.  The relevant local authorities will retain responsibility for tenant management during the contract period.

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Note for editors on the Social Housing Public Private Partnership Programme:

What does this PPP model entail:
Principally this model is purely to facilitate the delivery of social housing units for the State.  These are delivered by using what is termed, an ‘availability-based’ PPP model, in which a private sector company designs, builds, finances and maintains the social housing units in return for a ‘unitary payment’.

This model has previously been used successfully in Ireland to build a number of roads and schools projects and is also being used to deliver primary healthcare centres and courthouses.  It has also been used successfully in other countries to build social housing.

As it is availability-based, the private sector partner is responsible for ensuring that units are available for occupation, and subject to their availability, the local authority is responsible for tenanting.  The private sector partner provides maintenance and upkeep services for 25 years, after which the units are returned to the State in good condition, subject to reasonable wear and tear.

Site and unit ownership:
In this model the State provides sites for PPP Projects (usually on licence/lease), which stay in the ownership of the State throughout.  The developers also construct the housing units under a license to the State.  No private housing units are developed on the site as part of the PPP project.

PPP sites stay in the ownership of the State throughout – ownership of social housing units transfers to State after 25 years, with the expiry of the maintenance part of the PPP contract

Costs associated with this type of PPP:
The State makes an input to the PPP project by providing State land on licence/lease and by making a monthly ‘unitary payment’ for 25 years.  This payment commences once construction is complete and covers the cost of the delivery and servicing of units.

Timeline for delivery:
PPP projects take an estimated 37-48 months to deliver, in total.

Tenanting PPP units:
Tenants allocated to PPP units are drawn, in the normal manner, from the local authority social housing waiting list in accordance with that local authority’s allocation scheme.