Saturday 21 September 2019

Voluntary sector delivers a third of social housing

Photo: Stock Image
Photo: Stock Image
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

One-in-three long-term social homes provided by the State last year was delivered by housing associations.

The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) says it expects to deliver more than 15,000 of the 50,000 social units promised under the Government's Rebuilding Ireland programme, but said further measures were needed to boost output including an "urgent need" to release publicly-owned land for housing.

"We are calling on the Government to urgently bring forward the plans for the new Regeneration and Development Agency and release strategically located land banks for social and affordable housing," ICSH chief executive Dr Donal McManus said.

"In addition, only 10pc of the current housing association pipeline is dedicated to housing for older people. If we look at the nation's changing demographics, we know a much greater percentage of new housing must come in the form of lifetime-adaptable housing, to enable the growing number of older households to age in place."

Of the 7,095 social homes delivered in 2017, housing associations provided 2,330 or 33pc. Of these, 1,078 were built, some 760 were bought on the open market, and another 492 were leased.

The ICSH said output had risen from a low of 211 in 2013 and that another 5,756 homes were in the planning and development process, of which 2,777 would be directly built.

Social housing chief executive Dr Donal McManus. Photo:
Social housing chief executive Dr Donal McManus. Photo:

The sector, which manages 33,000 units on behalf of the State, is tasked with delivering a total of 15,500 homes over the coming years.

"Our goal is to grow our social housing stock by 50pc over the next five years to almost 50,000 units," Dr McManus added.

"Housing bodies are working in partnership with local authorities, but State sites need to come on-stream quickly as part of a defined pipeline of new build social housing. This is imperative if we are to reach and ideally exceed the targets in Rebuilding Ireland."

It also called for the approvals process to be streamlined to help increase output.

The ICSH represents 270 non-profit housing bodies which provide homes for low-income families, the elderly, the homeless and people with disabilities.

Irish Independent

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