Respond welcomes Programme for Government commitment to put affordability at the heart of the housing system

Respond, a not for profit Approved Housing Body (AHB) and service provider, have welcomed the commitments in the draft Programme for Government to prioritise the increased supply of public, social and affordable homes and to work on a package of reforms with Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to ensure they can access finance and move off balance sheet. This is critical to ensure that we can continue to deliver high quality homes for the families and individuals who so urgently need them.

Housing

Niamh Randall, Spokesperson for Respond, welcomed the commitment to increase the supply of public, social and affordable housing, including affordable rental housing.

The draft Programme for Government commits to affordable, high quality housing and a cost rental model of housing that creates affordability for tenants and a sustainable model for the construction and management of homes. We have been calling for such an affordable rental model for intermediate households for those who will never afford to purchase a home of their own but will not qualify for social housing. Respond are currently working on a the first pilot Cost Rental project in the State at Enniskerry Road where we are working to deliver 155 social and cost rental homes, in partnership with Tuath Housing, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, the Housing Agency, the Housing Finance Agency and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. Respond has many decades of experience in delivering high quality, affordable housing. We look forward to more details in the coming days and weeks. We also welcome the strategic role outlined for the Land Development Agency and commitments to ensure control of social and affordable housing remains with Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs).”

“The commitment to working to move Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs), such as Respond, off the State’s balance sheet is significant. This will allow us to access private finance without it being classified as public borrowing, ensuring Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) are not competing with other priorities in the State for example hospitals, roads and infrastructure. This will allow us to continue to provide much needed homes and to secure best value for the State. We look forward to more details as to how this will happen and how we can get involved.”

“Respond are particularly pleased to see the commitment to age-friendly housing for older people and look forward to working in partnership with Local Authorities to deliver development/redevelopment of housing for older people. Commitments to universally designed units is particularly important. This is an area of particular interest to Respond; as well as our housing work, we are also the providers of three Daycare Services for Older People.”

“The development of a Commission on Housing will be an important early development in the lifetime of this Government working on issues such as tenure, standards, sustainability, and quality of life issues in the provision of housing. We look forward to playing our part in the work of this Commission.

 The Payment and Availability model of funding, linked to market rents, cannot and does not support social housing provision in rural Ireland. The knock-on effect that the lack of housing has on economic development and employment and its impact of rural development should be considered. We know from our experience of the last few months that not everyone needs to live in major urban areas; that remote working can be an option for many. As a national organisation working in all 26 countries it is positive to see commitment to balanced regional development with commitments to revitalize and reboot our cities, towns, villages and rural areas.”

Homelessness

Commenting on the commitments contained within the Programme for Government, Niamh Randall, Spokesperson for Respond said:

“Respond run six family homeless services providing emergency accommodation plus 24/7 support. Every day we see the challenges and trauma which homelessness brings to both adults and children. We know that many of the families who come to our services are coming from the private rental sector where their tenancy has broken down therefore it is welcome to see the commitment to strengthen security of tenure and ensure that Rent Supplement and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) levels are adequate to support vulnerable households. However, the solution to homelessness is access to secure and affordable homes with support for those who need it so commitments to ramping up supply are key in this context. We also welcome the commitment to expanding the Housing First approach, with a focus on the construction and acquisition of one bed homes and the provision of relevant supporting services and dedicated funding line to deliver health and mental health supports for people who are homeless with complex needs both critical if we are to end homelessness and rough sleeping.”

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)

Niamh Randall, Spokesperson for Respond said:

“Respond are one of the largest providers of community based Childcare in the country and we welcome the acknowledgment that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the sector and the commitment to continuing Government support to providers and their staff as childcare facilities re-open. The establishment of the Childhood Ireland agency is a positive development to focus on quality, leadership, best practice, innovation and professional development in the sector. We look forward to more details on this and how we can get involved. It is welcome to see commitments on strengthening early intervention and family support services, working with families who are experiencing difficulties and may be struggling. A whole system approach, with sustained collaboration and coordination at all levels, is required to address severe and multiple disadvantage in communities all round Ireland. Evidence supports the critical role of prevention and early intervention.”

ENDS

Contact: Helen McCormack, Communications Manager, Respond, 087 104 7793

About Respond

Respond, a not‐for‐profit housing association, has been working all around Ireland for over 38 years. Our vision is that every family and individual in Ireland will have high‐quality housing as part of a vibrant and caring community. We firmly believe that housing and decent accommodation, in the areas where people want to live, are central to improving people’s lives and enhancing the health and well‐being of society. We are proactively responding to the housing and homelessness crisis providing real on‐the‐ground solutions and we are working hard to identify ways to support people to move out of homelessness into secure homes quickly. We own and manage 4,526 homes across the 26 counties in Ireland where approximately 9,000 tenants live.

We provide emergency accommodation with support for families who are homeless in six Family Hubs where our goal is to support families to move into secure homes as quickly as possible leaving homelessness behind. We provide wraparound support in relation to access to housing, mental and physical health services, family or parenting support and a range of other issues. We also continue to work with families once they have moved on to ensure the sustainability of these exits. In addition to housing and related work we also provide Day Care Services for Older People, Early Education, Childcare, Family Support and Resettlement Services.

 

Happy Easter

We want to wish all our tenants, services users, partners and supporters a safe, healthy and Happy Easter.

We are so proud of our frontline staff who continue to do all they can to support and work with our tenants and service users during this time of COVID 19. Our homeless services, family support services, tenant relations work and refugee resettlement services remain operational.

So much great work is happening in our teams around the country who are coming together with our partners to address to this crisis. We have read and deeply appreciate the letters and phone calls of thanks that are coming in to us. We would also like to publicly acknowledge support and co-operation we have received to continue in our work.

Please continue to call our Customer Service Centre for any assistance you may require.

Respond will be joining the Government Shine Your Light initiative on Easter Saturday, 11th April, asking everyone to shine a light for all who are sick, for frontline workers and anyone affected by Covid-19.

Respond Housing launch Annual Report with 1,160 homes in construction

 Respond Housing launch annual report with 1,160 homes in construction

Respond said that the Government must ensure that housing affordability is tackled to address urgent housing need and homelessness

Respond Housing Association today launched their Annual Report for 2018 highlighting that they currently have 1,160 homes in construction and on-site and expect this number to increase before year end. In 2018, the organisation supported 8,676 tenants in 3,717 social housing homes (6,254 adults and 2,422 children). Working to address the homelessness crisis, Respond also provided short term emergency accommodation with 24/7 wraparound support for 110 families experiencing the trauma of homelessness over the course of the year. Respond aim to deliver 2,500 additional homes by 2023.

The annual report was launched by John Paul Phelan, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with special responsibility for Local Government and Electoral Reform.

Niamh Randall, Spokesperson for Respond said it had been a busy and exciting year for Respond.

‘We have been very focused on building; we have 1,160 homes onsite and in construction today with a target of delivering 2,500 homes by 2023. We are really looking forward to handing over keys to those families who need and deserve a secure place to call home. We are supporting approximately 9,000 tenants working across the 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland. What we in Respond see each and every day is the importance of a home and the security that it brings to people. We see the difference this makes to people in terms of their overall health and wellbeing but also their ability to engage in employment, education and training. People cannot fully participate in society if they don’t have a safe and secure home.’

Niamh Randall, Spokesperson for Respond, said that Respond are proactively addressing the homelessness crisis as a service provider.

‘Respond are now providing homeless services in six locations across Ireland. In 2018, we worked with 110 families in five locations providing emergency accommodation with 24 hour wraparound support. 76% of the children we worked with were under 10 years of age with 58% being under 5 years of age.  The average length of stay was six months with the absence of housing options being the main barrier to families leaving homelessness behind.  The majority of families (36) moved onto the Private rented sector with the support of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP); 9 families moved into social housing managed by Local Authorities or an Approved Housing Body (AHB); 16 families returned to their family of origin and 16 families moved to another Supported Temporary Accommodation services or Private Emergency Accommodation.’

Respond is committed to supporting families and individuals experiencing homelessness on their path back to independent living. This means working with people around physical health issues, mental health issues and the  the trauma of becoming homeless and providing support to access housing. We also provide supports to children who are in our services to help them to cope with this stressful situation as effectively as possible. The support provided to families in 2018 included the following areas housing; mental health and emotional support; child and youth support and parenting skills; education, training and employment; medical, drugs and alcohol issues; budgeting, legal issues and language skills. We also continue to work with families once they have moved on, if they wish, to support them to sustain their new home. We have worked with 306 families since December 2016.’

We would like to thank all of our partners which include Local Authorities, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Housing Agency, the Housing Finance Agency, the Dublin Regional Homelessness Executive, Limerick City and County Council and the Health Services Executive for their support this year and every year.  We reiterate our firm commitment to playing our part building homes throughout the country and providing services for families and individuals who are in housing need.

 

For further information and interviews contact:

Helen McCormack Tel: 087 104 7793

Email: helen.mccormack@respond.ie

Respond Annual Report Launch

Date: Wednesday, November 27th

Time: 09.45am

Venue: Buswells Hotel, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Facts from our Annual Report

  • 3,717 social housing homes owned and managed.
  • Homes in 143 estates across 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Supporting 8, 676 tenants in housing; 6254 adults and 2422 children.
  • 110 families experiencing homelessness supported in emergency accommodation with 24/7 wraparound support last year across five locations.
  • The average length of stay was six months with the absence of housing options being the main barrier to families leaving homelessness behind.
  • Ages of the children we worked with:
    • 94 (58%) 0-5 years.
    • 29 (18%) 6-10 years.
    • 5 (15%) 11-15 years.
    • 25 (3%) Total adult dependents.
  • 306 families supported in emergency accommodation with 24/7 wraparound support since December 2016.

About Respond

Respond, a not‐for‐profit housing association, has been working all around Ireland for over 36 years. Our vision is that every family and individual in Ireland will have high‐quality housing as part of a vibrant and caring community. We firmly believe that housing and decent accommodation, in the areas where people want to live, are central to improving people’s lives and enhancing the health and well‐being of society. We are proactively responding to the housing and homelessness crisis providing real on‐the‐ground solutions and we are working hard to identify ways to support people to move out of homelessness into secure homes quickly. We own and manage 4,526 homes across the 26 counties in Ireland where approximately 9,000 tenants live. Respond currently have 1,160 homes in construction and onsite.

We provide emergency accommodation with support for families who are homeless in six Family Hubs where our goal is to support families to move into secure homes as quickly as possible leaving homelessness behind. We provide wraparound support in relation to access to housing, mental and physical health services, family or parenting support and a range of other issues. We also continue to work with families once they have moved on to ensure the sustainability of these exits. In addition to housing and related work we also provide Day Care Services for Older People, Early Education, Childcare, Family Support and Resettlement Services.