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Social Housing Public Private Partnership Programme

€300 million was committed in Budget 2015 to providing 1,500 new social housing units via the Public Private Partnership model. The programme is being delivered in three bundles with a capital value of approximately €100 million each.

Each bundle is being developed over a number of sites, spread across different local authorities. Each individual site is to provide between 50 and 100 social housing units.

What does this PPP model entail?

The housing units are delivered using what is termed, an ‘availability-based PPP model’. A private sector company designs, builds, finances and maintains the social housing units. In return, it receives payments which are spread over 25 years.

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

As the model is ‘availability-based’, the private sector partner is responsible for ensuring that units are available for occupation. The local authority is responsible for allocating tenants. The private sector partner provides maintenance and upkeep services for 25 years. After this time, the units are returned to the State in good condition, subject to reasonable wear and tear.

Site and unit ownership

The State provides sites for the PPP projects, usually on a licence or lease. The site stays 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.

Costs associated with this type of PPP

The State makes a monthly ‘unitary payment’ for 25 years. These payments commence once construction is complete. Payments cover the cost of the delivery and servicing of units.

How do tenants access the PPP units?

Tenants are allocated to PPP units from the local authority social housing waiting list. This is done based on the local authority’s allocation scheme. The same system for allocating other social housing units is therefore used for PPP.

Bundle 1: The Greater Dublin Area

Sites for the first bundle of Social Housing PPP projects were announced on Budget day, 13 October 2015. The bundle comprises 6 sites with a capital value of approximately €100m. Two of the sites are located in Dublin City with one each in South Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow and Louth. The programme is being developed in co-operation with the local authorities in each area. Over 500 units are to be delivered through this bundle.