Housing agencies provided more than 3,000 social homes in 2018

Approved housing bodies took 4,000 families off waiting list in 2018

Ireland’s housing association sector provided 3,219 social homes in 2018. Stock photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Ireland’s housing association sector provided 3,219 social homes in 2018. Stock photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

 

The chief executive of the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) is calling on the Land Development Agency to provide more land to housing associations to build social housing.

Dr Donal McManus says that the biggest obstacle to building more social housing is the lack of suitable land.

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.

The report will show that almost 40 per cent of social houses built in the Republic last year were constructed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

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 families off the social housing waiting list.

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

Dr McManus told RTÉ ’s Morning Ireland that while there are 500 housing associations in the country, only 270 are active with most providing housing for an income based rent.

Housing associations build homes through two methods, he explained. That is directly or through joint ventures, but the biggest issue remains the lack of land.

“We can build houses, raise the finance, get some support from the State and charge affordable rents, but we need the Land Development Agency to help.”

Housing associations charge affordable rents, which are usually around €55 per week for a family home, he added. “We house people on lower incomes under €35,000 to €40,000.”

The ICSH works well with the private sector, said Dr McManus, with many companies working repeatedly on projects.