Ireland’s Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) delivered nearly 3,800 social and cost rental homes in 2021, facilitating more than 3,700 households to come off the waiting list for social housing.
Some 41 per cent of the total number of social homes delivered in the State last year were provided by AHBs, according to new figures from the Irish Council for Social Housing, published this morning.
AHBs are independent, not-for-profit organisations that provide affordable rented housing for people who cannot afford to pay private sector rents. They also include housing co-operatives, which are housing organisations controlled by their members/tenants who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions.
Data from the Council’s Housing Association Activity Report 2021 shows that the 270 housing associations that comprise its membership delivered 3,792 homes last year, up 14 per cent from 2020 when housing delivery was severely disrupted by the pandemic. It meant 3,727 households were able to come off the waiting list for social housing, the council said in a statement.
Some 75 per cent of homes delivered by AHBs were new builds, 14 per cent were leased homes while 10 per cent were properties acquired by housing associations.
When partnerships with local authorities are counted in the figures, Ireland’s housing associations helped to deliver 9,183 social homes in 2021, the council said. Of that total, 55 per cent of the new builds, 31 per cent of the acquisitions and 20 per cent of the leased homes were delivered by AHBs, according to the report.
Commenting, council chief executive Donal McManus said the performance of the AHB sector last year “really exemplifies the dedication” of the council’s members. He said the associations had delivered “more homes for those in greatest need despite the many obstacles Covid-19 and supply chain issues” presented.
“This is the second-highest housing delivery figure to date for the AHB sector and demonstrates how the sector has bounced back after 2020,” Mr McManus said.
Pat Doyle, president of the Irish Council for Social Housing and chief executive of the Peter McVerry Trust, said the sector was continuing to meet “the clear and challenging targets” set down in the Government’s Housing for All strategy, launched last year.
“While we are proud of what we have delivered to date, we will continue to be ambitious. As our Strategic Plan outlines, we are aiming to double the number of homes under AHB management by 2030,” said council vice-president Tina Donaghy.
“However, continuing to exceed expectations in terms of housing delivery is not without its challenges. The current inflationary pressures, coupled with sectoral-specific construction material supply issues and labour force shortages, look set to become medium-term issues rather than short-term concerns.”
Separately on Tuesday, the council told the Oireachtas housing committee that rising construction costs were threatening the delivery of new social and cost rental homes. In his opening statement, Mr Doyle also warned TDs and Senators that rising interest rates were a growing source of worry for the sector.