INNOVATIVE solutions are the key to meeting the overwhelming demand for social housing in Cork.
That's the view of the Cluid Housing Association after it emerged this week that more than 15,000 households are now waiting for a local authority home in Cork.
The figures showed that there were 399 applicants on the housing list in Mallow Town, 392 in Fermoy and 239 in Macroom.
Head of Policy with Cluid Simon Brooke said that as demand continues to grow, housing associations will have a key role in helping to reduce housing waiting lists across the county.
"Where local authorities delivered social housing in the past, future demand will be met through associations such as Cluid. A key reason for this is that capital spending has been cut dramatically and housing associations can access debt finance to fund social housing provision," said Mr Brooke.
He said that innovation would be the key to future growth and new housing procurement routes are established and developed.
"The housing association sector is undergoing a massive change as housing provided by these groups is no longer 100% funded by the government. In fact, capital spending on social housing has been cut by a huge 72% between 2008 and 2012," said Mr Brooke.
"In order to make the very best use of the very limited government funding, we are now seeking alternatives through new sources," he added.
One of the pioneering projects delivered by Cluid has been the procurement of homes through leasing schemes on unoccupied estates left idle following the collapse of the housing boom.
"There is also unsold local authority owned affordable housing, originally built for sale as affordable homes to people that could not afford to buy on the open market. These can be made available to housing associations to accommodate people in need," said Mr Brooke.
"At a time of huge cutbacks and growing housing waiting lists, the need for good quality affordable housing has never been greater and Cluid is determined to meet that need," he added.