In the context of the €1.5 billion fiscal space available in Budget 2016, RESPOND! Housing believe that social housing should be prioritised as the greatest social challenge facing Ireland’s current generation. The housing charity think that the Government regulations and taxes, have made homes too expensive to construct and urge the removal of increased regulation, planning and finance obstacles which are hindering increased social housing supply.
Ned Brennan CEO with RESPOND! stated:
“In Dublin, housing statistics show that homelessness has increased from eight families per month in 2012 to 80+ families per month in 2015. Without the removal of social housing delivery barriers, we are facing the prospect of in-excess of 200 families’ per month being homeless by 2018”
RESPOND! urges the Government to tackle the following barriers and obstacles;
- Planning is too slow – the Irish Planning Institute (IPI) estimate that is takes 75 weeks to secure planning permission. A fast-track planning process for the delivery of new social housing is required.
- New Regulations such as renewable energy costs and energy efficiencies have added to the cost of social housing delivery.
- The finance model, to fund social housing delivery is inadequate, having regard to the cost of house construction compared to market value.
- The removal of VAT on social housing projects in order to alleviate what is essentially a circular financial burden on approved housing bodies (AHB’s) in the supply of social housing.
Mr. Brennan added;
“The reality is that hundreds of thousands of families are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. In acknowledging that there is a high level of social housing need in most of Ireland’s cities and towns, RESPOND! warns that social housing targets will not be met unless these obstacles are addressed”
As a charity whose fundamental operating principle is to target and alleviate poverty RESPOND! places significant importance on the forthcoming Budget 2016 as it is considered that the budget can have a major impact on both the operations of RESPOND! as an education and housing provider, as well as impacting on the lives for whom RESPOND! provides services.
RESPOND! has committed itself to being a key player and partner in the delivery of the Social Housing Strategy 2020 and particularly welcomes the enhanced role for AHBs in the context of the social housing strategy. RESPOND! therefore calls on Government Budget 2016 to implement increased funding and to remove arduous planning obstacles to facilitate increased social housing supply.
Respond Pre-Budget Submission 2016 can be viewed here