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.