Minister for Housing and Community Simon Coveney TD visits Respond’s social inclusion hub in Waterford

Housing numbers are only one side of the equation – we cannot forget to build communities

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney TD today visited John’s College – Respond’s latest social housing development – in Waterford city. To date, Respond has built 574 social homes and 4 childcare centres in Waterford city and county alone.

John’s College was refurbished and redeveloped by Respond Housing with the financial support of Waterford City Council and the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government through the Capital Assistance Scheme, the Capital Advance Lease Facility and Payment and Availability Agreement. The €12 million scheme has delivered 57 one bedroom apartments, a 10 bed group home and extensive communal facilities.

Minister Coveney said:

“I’m delighted to be here today to visit this development provided by Respond and I would like to congratulate them on their great work in transforming what was previously a disused building which is now being used to provide homes for elderly people. We need to see more projects like this which make use of derelict properties. Approved Housing Bodies such as Respond are vital to the delivery of Rebuilding Ireland the Action Plan for Housing & Homelessness. The Action Plan is all about providing homes and sustainable communities for families nationwide and this project is a fine example of this with a community centre on site for the wider community”

Ned Brennan, Chief Operations Officer, Respond Housing.

“We are delighted to have played the lead role in saving and refurbishing this iconic Waterford City landmark building and converting it to modern housing and facilities for the benefit of the community”,

John’s College is home to over 60 residents, some of whom require supports to live independently. John’s College acts as a community centre for the wider area, and is home to the Waterford branch of Downs Syndrome Ireland, the Cuidiú mother and toddler group, the Hub café and an artist in residence. Respond College will run a Certificate in Housing Practice and a major award course in Health Service Skills and other educational courses for residents and the wider community, in the facility, this coming term.

Albert Perris, Chief Executive Officer of Respond Support said:

“Waterford city and county currently has 6,000 people in need of accommodation and this is a crisis we all have to address. However, housing is only one part of the solution. Communities need services; children need facilities and families need supports.

The Respond model is not one where we simply build houses, but one where we are committed to the creation and development of resourced communities to enable and empower people to fulfil their potential.  We do this through the provision of housing along with services, supports, education and life-skills.

Integrated housing can only be delivered through integrated planning and we hope that ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ will contribute to this. Housing, along with services are a core component in the development of truly sustainable communities.”

James McCarthy resident of John’s College said:

“In John’s College I know I am never alone. I have recently joined the choir set up by the residents. We all have skills we can teach to others. It’s never too late to learn”