Respond Housing to work with Global Brain Health Institute in pilot brain health training programme

09th November 2020: Respond, an Approved Housing Body and service provider said today that they are delighted to be working with the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) to develop a brain health training programme for their staff who provide services in housing, family homeless services, daycare for older people, refugee resettlement and family support.

As part of an ongoing collaboration relating to the intersection of brain health and housing, Respond are working with the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) to develop and pilot a brain health training program for their staff. The program will enhance awareness and understanding of the importance of brain health; how threats to brain health can affect a person’s behaviour and interactions, the best practices to reduce and deal with threats to brain health, and how all stakeholders together can best cultivate their own brain health and that of the larger community.

This pilot brain training program will begin today on Monday the 9th of November 2020 and run until April. It is hoped that this pilot will inform other training initiatives.

Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson said Respond are excited to start their learning journey with GBHI.

“We see the importance of brain health in our work each and every day. Building homes so people have the security they need to put down roots within a thriving community is an important part of what we do. However, the journey doesn’t stop once the homes are built; it continues when we hand over the keys to our tenants and they embark upon this new chapter in their new homes. This training will help our staff teams build understanding of the importance of brain health and also to learn best practice approaches and techniques when working to support people to reach their full potential.”

Brian Lawlor, Deputy Director of GBHI said:

“We want to promote the concept of brain health and housing and raise awareness of the importance of a secure home and supported environment to everyone’s brain health and wellbeing. Housing is much more than a basic need; the right home environment can help grow brain connections and allow people to flourish in their communities.”

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

Editors Notes

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. Approximately 10,378 tenants live in 4,520 homes across the 26 counties that we either own or manage, of these there are 4,250 Respond social tenancies.

We provide emergency accommodation with support for families who are homeless in six Family Homeless Services 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 Childhood Care and Education, Family Support and Refugee Resettlement Services.

Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) are not-for-profit organisations that have a social purpose to provide for people’s housing needs by working in close co-operation with the Government, local authorities and relevant agencies.

Visit Respond.ie or find them on Twitter @Respondhousing

Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI)

The Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) is a leader in the global community dedicated to protecting the world’s aging populations from threats to brain health. GBHI works to reduce the scale and impact of dementia around the world by training and connecting the next generation of leaders in brain health through the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health program; by collaborating in expanding preventions and interventions; and by sharing knowledge and engaging in advocacy.

The Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health program, based at GBHI, provides innovative training, networking and support to emerging leaders who are focused on bringing transformative change to improve brain health and reduce the impact of dementia worldwide. It is one of seven Atlantic Fellows programs to advance fairer, healthier and more inclusive societies.

GBHI is based at the University of California, San Francisco, and Trinity College Dublin. Visit http://www.gbhi.org or find them on Twitter @GBHI_Fellows.

 

 

Covid-19 Update

21.10.2020

Following the Government announcements that Ireland will enter Level 5 of the Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: A Plan for Living with Covid-19, we are responding proactively and taking on-board the recommendations from the public health authorities.

The health and safety of our staff, tenants, services users and partners remains our first priority.  Our essential workers, in Development, Housing and Services continue to deliver services, as appropriate, observing all public health protocols and guidelines.

We would like to acknowledge and thank our tenants, service users, staff, stakeholders and partners for all of the support and co-operation we continue to receive.

The following general health and safety measures remain in place:

  • Receptions areas are closed.
  • No visitors will be accepted to any of our offices that share premises with homeless services.
  • All staff who can work remotely are now doing so.

Housing

  • Our Customer Service Centre is open for any assistance tenants may require.
  • We are in regular contact with our tenants.
  • Staff are carrying out essential home visits and repairs.
  • Staff are available for available for online and phone support.

Services

  • Our Family Homeless Services remain open.
  • Our Early Childhood Care and Education services remain open.
  • Day-care for Older People services remain closed but staff are checking in with service users regularly.
  • Our Refugee Resettlement Services and Family Support Service have moved to remote working but are available for online and phone support.

Ongoing liaison continues with our statutory partners in the Health Services Executive (HSE), the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Local Authorities, the Housing Agency and the Dublin Region Homelessness Executive (DRHE), Pobal, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration & Youth, the Department of Justice and the Housing Finance Agency.

Please continue to call our Customer Service Centre for any assistance you may require or in the case of an emergency

Thank you for your ongoing support.

 Take care and stay safe.

Respond Housing welcomes Affordable Rental Measures in Budget 2021

The Approved Housing Body said this is a significant development which has the potential to transform the Irish Housing landscape

13th October 2020: Respond, an Approved Housing Body and service provider welcomed today’s Budget 2021 measures addressing housing and homelessness. The organisation said it is positive to see the Government take a counter-cyclical investment approach, increasing investment in social and affordable housing in 2021.

Niamh Randall, Head of Advocacy and Communications for Respond, welcomed affordable rental measures in Budget 2021.

“The inclusion of the affordable rental measures in Budget 2021 is a very significant development which has the potential to transform the Irish Housing landscape. This will offer an alternative rental option, allowing for greater housing affordability and choice. This affordable rental option for people who do not qualify for social housing, but may not be able to afford to purchase their own home, some of whom are struggling to keep a roof over their heads on the private rental sector, will make a real difference. Prior to this there was no funded model to provide affordable rental housing. The lack of affordable housing, whether renting or buying, has had greatest impact on those in low incomes and living in poverty. We have been advocating for a number of years for a sustainable and replicable model to deliver affordable rental homes which we believe could be transformative.

We look forward to working with the Minister and Department on the details in the coming weeks. Respond have been leading in this area, working with our partners in delivering the pilot cost rental pathways project in Enniskerry Road (see Notes for the Editor).”

Niamh Randall, Head of Advocacy and Communications for Respond welcomed the overall housing package with investment of €3.3b in housing:

“Respond welcome the housing package investing €3.3b in housing with commitment to 12,750 new social homes of which 9,500 will be new builds. We are keen to continue playing our part in delivering social homes for individual and families who need them. It is also very welcome to see the focus on new builds, adding to existing housing stock, which is a key objective for Respond. Respond currently have 1,288 in construction and onsite all around the country. The commitment of €65m for the deep retrofitting of social housing is welcome to allow for upgrades of older housing stock. We look forward to more detail on these announcements.

No one could have foreseen the global pandemic and the impact it would have on all of our lives. Covid-19 has shown how having a safe, secure home as part of a vibrant, diverse community is critical to the quality of life and wellbeing of individuals and families. We in Respond want to build and deliver as many homes as we can, working closely with our statutory partners, for families and individuals in housing need. This investment in social housing and affordable rental homes will support the economy to recover quickly and allow for the continued provision of housing to those who urgently need it. Never has it been more important to have a secure home.”

Niamh Randall, Head of Advocacy and Communications for Respond, said that homeless prevention must be a priority.

“We are pleased to see an increase in the homeless budget of an additional 22 million. Prevention and early intervention are key to ending the crisis and stopping the flow of families and individuals into emergency accommodation. People need support to keep a roof over their heads and enabling people to maintain their tenancy, their home, is critical. We know that Housing First is the best way to address homelessness (providing the necessary housing as quickly as possible once a person become homeless and then providing support in housing) so it is welcome that Budget 2021 should ensure the continued implementation of the National Implementation Strategy for Housing First. The solution to homelessness is access to secure and affordable homes with support for those who need it therefore commitments to ramping up supply are key in this context.”

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

Editors Notes

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. Approximately 10,378 tenants live in 4,520 homes across the 26 counties that we either own or manage, of these there are 4,250 Respond social tenancies.

We provide emergency accommodation with support for families who are homeless in six Family Homeless Services 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 Childhood Care and Education, Family Support and Refugee Resettlement Services.

About Approved Housing Bodies

Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) are not-for-profit organisations that have a social purpose to provide for people’s housing needs by working in close co-operation with the Government, local authorities and relevant agencies.

Enniskerry Road Pathfinder Project

The Enniskerry Road Pathfinder Project provides for the construction of 155 social and affordable homes which are being delivered by Respond and Tuath Housing Associations in partnership with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on land provided by the Housing Agency under the Land Aggregation Scheme. This first Cost Rental pilot project under Rebuilding Ireland is the result of an innovative collaboration between Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, the Housing Agency, the Housing Finance Agency, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Respond and Tuath Housing Associations. Located at Enniskerry Road, Stepaside, Dublin 18 the site is near to a wide range of amenities, public facilities, schools, health services, local community and sports groups. Enniskerry Road provides access to the LUAS Green Line, the 47 bus route, and the M50 motorway.

The project includes 50 Cost Rental homes and 105 social homes to be apportioned between Respond (78 homes including 25 Cost Rental) and Tuath (77 homes including 25 Cost Rental). The homes will be a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom properties. All of the 50 Cost Rental homes will be 2-bedroom apartments.

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.

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.’

 

Respond Housing calls for Budget 2020 to invest in affordable rental housing for intermediate households

Respond Housing launched its Pre Budget Submission, calling on the Government to ensure that affordable rental housing for intermediate households is prioritised in Budget 2020. The organisation said the Budget provides a timely opportunity for the Government to assess what policies are working well and to introduce new options to ensure that the housing and homelessness crisis is addressed more effectively. Respond called on the Government to look at people focused solutions in order to have a better impact on communities, as well as the wider economy.

Niamh Randall, Spokesperson for Respond, said that Respond want to see the Government introduce 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 on State land but also on 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 there needs to be an increase in capital Budget to deliver social housing.

‘We in Respond want to build and deliver as many homes as we possibly can to ensure we are meeting social housing need. It is essential that this capital budget 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 Budget 2020 must also prioritise homeless prevention.

Prevention and early intervention are key to ending the crisis and stopping the flow of families and individuals into emergency accommodation. People must be 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.’

For further information and interviews contact:

Helen McCormack

Tel: 087 104 7793

Email: helen.mccormack@respond.ie

 

Editor Notes:

A copy of Respond’s Pre Budget Submission is available here

Respond’s Ten Priority Actions for Budget 2020

 

1.       Reclassification of Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs): The development of a time-lined action plan to explore all options to move AHBs ‘off-balance sheet’ to avoid negative long-term consequences.

 

2.       Increase Capital Investment: To increase the capital budget for social housing building specifically for Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) allocation and the associated Payment and Availability (P&A) allocation. This is to ensure the scheme keeps pace with the growing number of applications due to the increased capacity within sector.

 

3.       National Affordable Rental Scheme: Introduce a National Affordable Rental Scheme to be delivered by AHBs and Local Authorities to address the housing needs of intermediate households.

 

4.       Structured protocol between the Land Development Agency (LDA) and AHBs: The development of a structured protocol for engagement between the Land Development Agency (LDA) and AHBs would enable both parties to work closely together, ensuring a continuous pipeline of building land for social and affordable housing.

 

5.       Restore Part V: Restore Part V to at least its original 20%. This was reduced to 10% in 2015. Part V housing units in developments are an effective way of ensuring some of the gains from an accelerating housing market go towards those at the lower end of the income distribution.

6.       Offset regional imbalance in relation to the CALF and P&A model: In areas where there is an established need and demand for housing and the market rents are insufficient to sustain the cost of new construction/acquisition, there should be exploration of measures to offset the regional imbalance in relation to CALF and the P&A model. These measures could include the provision of a higher level of CALF (above maximum of 30%), longer loan duration, lower interest rates, regeneration funding and/or strategic infrastructure funding linked to the wider development framework in these regions to assist in delivery of much needed housing solutions that are financially sustainable.

 

7.       Tax reforms including:

–          Reforming the Vacant Site Levy.

–          Waiving developer contributions for social housing developments.

–          Reducing VAT on materials and services for renovating/reusing existing housing stock for social housing use from 23% to the lower rate of 13.5%.

 

8.       Homeless prevention: Continued and increased funding for primary and secondary homeless prevention services such as the Interim Tenancy Sustainment Protocol (ITSP) which should be rolled out nationally.

9.       Quality of Family Hubs: Resource improvement in the quality of Family Hubs. Measures needed include quality standards, inspections and further investment in trained and qualified support staff.

 

10.   Housing First: Ring-fenced resources for the rapid implementation of the National Implementation Strategy for Housing First.

 

 

About Respond

Our vision is that every family and individual in Ireland will have high‐quality housing as part of a vibrant and caring community. Respond, a not‐for‐profit housing association, has been working all around Ireland for over 36 years. 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 1,086 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.