Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has said the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme has not closed, funding has not run out and people can still apply.
However, speaking at a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government, he admitted that ten local authorities had reached their funding limit.
The loan allows first-time buyers to borrow up to 90% of a property's value from their local authority.
Minister Murphy was responding to a question by Solidarity People Before Profit TD Mick Barry during the Committee today, who asked why the scheme had been "frozen".
The scheme allows first-time buyers to borrow up to 90% of a property's value from their local authority.
An internal document from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, released to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland under Freedom of Information, revealed the scheme has been put on hold because it has run out of funding.
Minister Murphy said they were in discussions with the local authorities that had reached their limit and some received additional funding last year.
He said he was in discussions with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform about securing more funding for the scheme.
The Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy told an Oireachtas Committee today that the Rebuilding Home Loan scheme has not closed but he admitted that ten local authorities had reached their funding limit @rtenews @rtepolitics pic.twitter.com/UyXdM8UiXA— Aisling Kenny (@KennyAKE) March 6, 2019
Minister Murphy also said homelessness levels remain "unacceptable".
He told the committee that the number of people in emergency accommodation was increasing, but not nearly as much as they have in the past.
He said the number of people entering emergency accommodation last year was fewer than 2016 and 2017.
Minister Murphy also said work would begin, but no homes would be completed this year, under the Serviced Sites Fund.
The intention of the fund is to support local authorities in identifying and providing lands for subsidised, affordable housing.
Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin said homelessness levels have increased by 61% since the Government was elected, 25% since Mr Murphy became minister and 10% in the last year.
Mr Ó Broin also said the Government was around 31% behind its projected housing output as part of Rebuilding Ireland.
Mr Barry said the number of people in emergency accommodation is greater now than at any time in the history of the State.
He said the numbers of people in homelessness had increased since the minister took office, which he said had never happened before.