Monday 21 October 2019

'Tenants are saying their health and wellbeing improved significantly'- over 3,000 new social housing units provided in 2018

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

Gabija Gataveckaite

Over 3,200 new social housing units were provided in 2018, latest reports show.

A total of 3,219 new build, leased and purchased housing was provided by housing associations in 2018.

According to the latest Housing Association Activity Report released today, 2,734 homes were provided under the Social Housing Current Expenditure Scheme for families.

A further 485 homes were provided under the Capital Assistance Scheme, for elderly, homeless and disabled people.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Chairperson of the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) and CEO of Peter McVerry, Pat Doyle, said that 2018 proved to be very successful.

“This year has been our highest ever year of delivery that we’ve had since records began,” he said.

“They weren’t just delivered by magic, we worked closely with local authorities, local authorities are our key partners in terms of delivering.”

ICSH Chief Executive Donal McManus said that there is a need for social housing now more than ever before.

“We’re in the middle of a housing crisis, we need more housing than ever before, there’s 10,000 people who are homeless at the moment, families with children and we’ve more people than ever on the social housing waiting list.”

“Although it’s an achievement that we’re up on last year, the last few years will be the first years since 2008 where we’ve got back up to a decent delivery figure."

“We’re absolutely delighted about that,” he said.

‘They’re not afraid to turn on the heating’

Tina Donaghy, Head of Development at Fold Ireland, stated that the core focus is to “deliver quality purpose built accommodation to those in need”.

She referenced feedback from tenants who live in purpose-built apartments in Coolock.

“Tenants [are] saying that their health and wellbeing has improved significantly due to the safety and security and the quality of their homes. And they’re not afraid to turn on the heating due to the high cost and they can have the heating on for a short time and because of the high levels of insulation, it holds the heat,” she said.

“Another tenant said that they no longer have to live in a cold home, and that’s what it really boils down to,” she added.


Mr McManus stated that in order to achieve the target of 15,000 social housing units by 2021, co-operation is needed.

“We need more access to land, we need, some of our players need more access to funding, we need the co-operation of the public and our local representatives, our local leaders,” he said.

“Everybody wants social housing but you’ll see the level of resistance we get sometimes in relation to having social housing ‘next door to me’. We need to manage all those different stakeholders,” he added.

Out of all of the social housing provided in Ireland, 62% is provided by local authorities and 38% is provided by housing associations, the report shows.

5,000 homes in construction pipeline

The delivery pipeline, as outlined in the report, shows that there is nearly 5,000 homes in the ‘construction pipeline’ and over 1,000 homes under acquisition.

“Local authorities are our main provider of social housing,” explained Mr Doyle. 

“We work in partnership so it’s not a case of them and us, local authorities have wide rows of housing delivery and our focus is very much as a sector on housing delivery,” he said.

The Housing Association Activity Report 2019 was published by ICSH, the national federation for non-profit housing associations. The sector manages over 35,000 homes for families on low income.

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