Respond Housing welcomes measures in Budget 2020 but express concerns that there is no National affordable Rental Scheme

Respond said that the Government must ensure that measures to address urgent housing need and homelessness are Brexit proof.

08thOctober 2019: Respond Housing have welcomed the budget measures addressing housing and homelessness. The organisation said that the Government must ensure that measures to address urgent housing need and homelessness are Brexit proof, regardless of a deal or no deal Brexit scenario. Respond expressed concern that there was no announcement of a National Affordable Rental Scheme and the continued reliance on the Housing Assistance Payment to deliver social homes. While there is progress being made in term of the delivery of social homes, it is clear more needs to be done. The Respond Pre Budget Submission 2020 detailed priority areas for the Government in Budget 2020 including a National Affordable Rental Scheme, ensuring there is sufficient capital investment for social housing, and a concerted focus on preventing homelessness.

Niamh Randall, Spokesperson for Respond, commented on the capital budget for social housing and the Land Development Agency:

‘We welcome the additional €17.5 million being provided to the Land Development Agency and €186 million being allocated for the Serviced Site Fund and Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund in 2020 for new affordable homes. We look forward to more detail on these announcements, which we feel can play a significant roles in terms of delivering the social and affordable homes that are urgently needed and support the government to meet its targets for building social and affordable homes.’

‘We in Respond want to build and deliver as many homes as we possibly can to ensure we are meeting social housing need; we currently have more than 1,100 homes in construction and onsite all around the country. We welcome the €130 million in Urban Regeneration and Development funding that will be available next year to support the rejuvenation of Ireland’s five main cities and other large towns. We acknowledge the increase in Housing Assistance Payment but it is important to reduce the reliance on the private rental sector and focus instead on the building of social and affordable homes by Approved Housing Bodies like Respond and Local Authorities. It is essential that this capital budget for social housing is a ring-fenced budget, separate from the budget for the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) which goes to pay rents in the private rental market. We believe that people are entitled to, and deserve, a home for life. There must be a forward looking approach to delivering more social and affordable homes, moving away from reliance on the private market.’

Niamh Randall, Spokesperson for Respond, said that Respond are disappointed not to see a commitment to a National Affordable Rental Scheme.

‘A National Affordable Rental Scheme is urgently needed to address the housing needs of so called intermediate households; that is households that won’t qualify for a mortgage and are really struggling to rent in the private rental sector but are not eligible for social housing. This should be available both on State land and private land so that Approved Housing Bodies, such as Respond, can deliver affordable rental homes, alongside Local Authorities. This differs from the Cost Rental model which is based on the costs of delivering, managing and maintaining your home.

Niamh Randall, Spokesperson for Respond, said that homeless prevention must be a priority.

‘It is welcome that there in an increase in the homeless budget of 20 million. Prevention and early intervention are key to ending the crisis and stopping the flow of families and individuals into emergency accommodation. We must ensure people are supported to keep a roof over their heads and enabling them to maintain their tenancy, their home, is critical. We know that Housing First is the best way to address homelessness so Budget 2020 must ensure that we are working towards a Housing First model, implementing the National Housing First strategy.’