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