Almost 40% of social housing was built by NGOs last year

Fr Peter McVerry accuses Government of falling short in its reponsibility to build

Ireland’s housing association sector, or approved housing bodies (AHBs), provided 3,219 social homes in 2018.

Ireland’s housing association sector, or approved housing bodies (AHBs), provided 3,219 social homes in 2018.

 

Almost 40 per cent of social houses built in the Republic last year were constructed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), according to a new report.

The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH), which is the national federation for non-profit housing associations, will publish the Housing Association Activity Report 2018 on Wednesday.

Ireland’s housing association sector, or approved housing bodies (AHBs), provided 3,219 social homes in 2018, which was 38 per cent of the national total. Those houses took more than 4,000 households off the social housing waiting list.

Some 54 per cent were new build social homes provided by ICSH members to households on the social housing waiting list, while 33 per cent were acquisitions and 13 per cent were leased.

AHBs are private, not for profit organisations formed for the purpose of relieving housing need. The veteran campaigner against homelessness Fr Peter McVerry said the figures show the Government is falling short in its responsibility to provide social housing.

“The local authorities are very keen to get the AHBs to take on that role because it’s another way of diverting the problem away from themselves,” he said.

“We need to see local authorities building thousands of social houses over the next few years and not relying so heavily on AHBs.”

Fr McVerry said AHBs “have a role to play” but operate with limited resources and would not be able to alleviate the housing crisis alone.

“AHBs are very limited in what they can do,” he said. “They are dependent on the local authorities or central government for funding. They are limited in terms of the staff they can employ.

“AHBs have a role to play in providing social housing and are more than willing to play that role within the limited resources they have, but the primary responsibility for social housing lies with the Government and it is falling short.”