€30 million for new council homes in Laois to tackle housing crisis

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

The unfinished Conniberry Estate, the only council estate under construction in Portlaoise.

The unfinished Conniberry Estate, the only council estate under construction in Portlaoise.

With 1,606 people now on the list for a council house in Laois, the local authority has revealed it will spend €30 million in the next two years buying and building homes.

Laois County Council’s housing construction programme will have an unprecedentedly huge budget of €25 million from the state to build new council homes.

Their housing acquisition programme will spend another €4.5 million, buying up existing homes and making them turnkey ready for new tenants.

There will be another €300k spent in improvement works to Local Authority houses.

Another €555k will be spent on an Energy Efficiency programme for council houses.

The Capital Programme runs from 2018 to 2020.

The council CEO John Mulholland said that their existing aim, to deliver 366 homes between 2015 and 2017, is “making steady progress”.

Those homes are being added to the council’s stock of about 2,000 homes, through a mix of buying, building, leasing, re-letting vacant homes, and rent payments for tenants in private accommodation in the Rental Accommodation Scheme.

Laois rents continue to spiral up

They plan four actions to deliver more houses.

These are to purchase sites and lands in Portlaoise, Portarlington and other areas by Compulsory Purchase if and when appropriate.

To work closely with Approved Housing Bodies to deliver more homes. To prepare housing scheme master plans in order to apply for government funding to build them, and to explore the possibility of “turnkey projects” whereby the council buys new private housing schemes built by developers for them.

In the general council budget for 2018, adopted last week, €290,000 will be spent on homelessness management and prevention in Laois.

The council will also spend almost €3 million maintaining its council units in 2018, up by €331k from 2017. This includes an extra €211,000 to raise fire standards to comply with new regulations.

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