Nama to make 2,000 homes available for social housing


THE NATIONAL Asset Management Agency (Nama) has agreed to make 2,000 homes or apartments available to people on social housing waiting lists from next year.

The move follows considerable pressure being placed on the agency by Ministers who have demanded more of a social dividend.

Following discussions with Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, the agency said residential units would be made available through leasing agreements with local authorities and voluntary housing groups.

The former minister of state for housing, Willie Penrose, also played a key role in pressuring the agency into putting more emphasis on delivering social housing.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Hogan said the decision would “provide hope for individuals and families on social housing lists throughout the country” in getting a new home provided by the State.

He said the agreement also included a commitment by Nama to put more housing units on the market; put aside more money to finish projects pending their sale or leasing for social housing purposes; and to assign designated staff to manage legal and other problems that might be associated with completing transactions.

“I welcome the decision by Nama to co-operate fully with the request I made last September,” Mr Hogan said.

“The agreement to provide 2,000 units is one of the largest housing allocations made in the history of the State and is a welcome Christmas boost to those most vulnerable in society.”

However, housing waiting lists are growing rapidly. Latest figures show the number of households requiring social housing reached a record 98,000 in 2011, up from 58,000 three years ago. All indications are that the numbers are continuing to rise.

In addition, the Government has announced that it does not have funds to buy or build any more local authority housing.

While it has faced criticism from Ministers, Nama has insisted that the agency has always been mindful of meeting social needs where it made commercial sense.

The agency has pointed out that Nama facilitated the purchase of almost 60 apartments in Sandyford, Dublin, earlier this year by a voluntary housing association.