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.