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Townmore: Construction Status Report 2020 & Social Housing Delivery


Earlier this week, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, published details of social housing delivery in 2020, together with the Construction Status Report for Quarter 4 2020. This Construction Status Report provides details about each social housing development in each local authority area. The headline figures show that in excess of 24,000 households had their housing needs met in 2020. This provision was through the allocation of a new social home, or through accessing State supports as provided by the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). 

Of the total ‘new’ stock of social housing acquired last year (7,827), 5,073 of these were newly-built homes. As expected, Covid-19 restrictions throughout 2020, including the partial shutdown of non-essential construction activities, impacted negatively on the delivery of social homes last year. The report also references a number of residential projects that were pushed out until 2021 or otherwise delayed. 

Speaking at the launch of this report, the Housing Minister confirmed that, despite the delays caused by the pandemic, housing delivery exceeded 70 percent of the Department’s own target. Interestingly, by the end June, housing delivery was at a low 13 percent with only 1,478 new social homes having been delivered at that stage. Of these, 739 were newly-built homes. This alarmingly low rate of delivery serves to emphasise just how difficult the second quarter of 2020 was for the industry. Thanks to the huge collective efforts of the construction industry, supported by the Construction Industry Federation, which worked with the HSE to develop and roll out stringent new safety protocols, the second half of the year rebounded much stronger than expected. 

In publishing the social housing figures, Minister O’Brien commended the combined efforts of the local authorities, the Approved Housing Bodies and all of the construction industry for putting in place effective protocols to mitigate against COVID, which allowed for this increased output over the second half of the year. Looking ahead for the remainder of 2021, the report shows a strong pipeline for new, newly-built social homes. Current figures reveal that there are 8,555 social homes under construction at the moment (no available breakdown of essential and non-essential). Also, in terms of planning applications, there are more than 9,000 homes at various stages of the approval process. 

Finally, the Minister for Housing spoke of his intention to prioritise increasing the supply of social housing, although the ongoing industry shutdown puts this into harsh perspective. Also, he confirmed the Department’s new housing plan, ‘Housing for All’, will be published later this summer.


According to the Minister, this plan will “build on our commitments in the Programme for Government and provide a roadmap, with a whole of Government approach, to outline how we get to a housing system that gives us the sustainable supply we need, at a price that people can afford, with appropriate housing options for the most vulnerable in our society”.