Centrus welcomes the Report of the Committee on Housing and Homelessness in Ireland
The House of the Oireachtas’ Special Committee on Housing and Homelessness recently released its report on tackling the shortage of housing supply and the related problem of homelessness in Ireland. Having considered the issues, including written submissions and presentations to the Committee from a wide range of stakeholders in the sector, the report contains a large number of recommendations under headings such as Social Housing, Private Rented Sector, Housing Finance, etc.
The report placed an emphasis on a number of priority recommendations including the following:
- Increase the social housing stock (owned by local authorities and approved housing bodies) by at least 50,000 units (an annual average of 10,000 per year)
- Reducing the Part 8 planning process from 8 to 6 weeks and encouraging greater use of same for Approved Housing Bodies (“AHBs”) where appropriate over a period of 18 months
- The minister should consider the establishment of a Housing Procurement Agency with staff from key stakeholders in the sector such as the Housing Agency, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Department of Finance to assist local authorities and approved housing bodies to deliver the social housing programme through supports including funding and procurement
- The Government should establish an off balance sheet funding mechanism to provide additional investment in social and affordable housing
- The Government should seek to mobilise all available sources of funding such as the Housing Finance Agency, the Strategic Investment Fund, etc. to increase the supply of social and affordable housing.
Centrus welcomes the report from the special committee and in particular notes the key role AHBs will continue to play in the delivery of social housing targets in Ireland should their recommendations be followed.
Centrus believes that the non-profit status of AHBs and their ability to access private finance places them in a unique position to deliver social units whilst reducing reliance on funding from the government’s balance sheet in line with government targets.
The full report can be found at the following here.