Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O'Brien TD was brought on a whistle-stop tour of a number of housing projects taking place in the Garden County.
Minister O'Brien met with Chief Executive Frank Curran and senior officials in Wicklow County Council on Thursday to discuss progress on the Housing Programme.
The Minister commended Wicklow County Council on its progress on delivery to date.
'We share a common goal that we want all our citizens to have access to good quality housing to purchase or rent at an affordable price. In Wicklow today, I am reassured that the Council is committed, energised and mobilised to deliver on its ambitious delivery targets and I want to reiterate that my Department and the relevant stakeholders are here to assist and support in realising that task.
'We know that demand has outstripped supply by some way and that it is crucial we increase supply. Homelessness remains a major problem and one I am committed to helping our local authorities deal with.'
Minister O'Brien visited the Homeless Hub facility at Fitzwilliam Road, Wicklow, refurbishment of which is nearing completion, and turning the sod at Hawkstown Park, Wicklow, a development of 40 family homes.
He also visited the housing development on the site of the former FCA Hall at the Murrough in Wicklow which will provide a further eight homes in 2020, finishing the day with a visit to Jameson Heights in Kilmacanogue, a welcome development of 20 homes in this area of high housing demand.
Cllr John Snell, Chairman of the Housing SPC, found the meeting with the Minister to be very worthwhile.
'Minister O'Brien actually told me that Wicklow is being looked at by all Local Authorities as regards to the number of housing projects we have. Other Local Authorities are trying to follow suit. We have Public Private Partnership (PPP), rapid builds, approved housing bodies and builds on our own lands. He had a choice of projects he could have looked at, including ones in Rathnew, Carnew, Baltinglass, Dunlavin and Arklow. He promised to come back to look at the progress of some of the other projects.'
Minister O'Brien also talked about a renewed focus on providing affordable housing.
'That is something we in Wicklow have been working to go on. We have the land and it will help people get their foot on the property ladder,' said Cllr Snell.
Frank Curran, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council,said: 'Wicklow is projected to exceed its target for Housing Delivery with anticipated output of 1,297 housing units by 2021 over the three delivery streams of Build, Acquisition and Leasing. This outcome highlights the critical focus and priority that has been firmly placed by Wicklow on responding to the housing challenge through the development and implementation of the Delivery Programme.
'The significant challenges faced by the Council in dealing with homelessness is being met through a variety of methods, with social housing delivery, the development of supported accommodation and also of interagency relationships to ensure a coordinated and structured response.'