The Housing Agency has recently published its second Strategic Plan to cover the period 2019 – 2021. The Agency is a state body under the aegis of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. Its remit is to support the Department, Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) in the delivery of housing and housing services. It also implements the Pyrite Remediation Scheme as well as being the interim regulator of the AHB sector.
Over the next three years, the Agency will continue to play a key role in the supply of housing to meet current and future requirements. It will support the building of sustainable communities to enable everyone to live in good quality, affordable homes.
In developing its Strategic Plan, the Agency identified three key housing challenges:
Supply: The supply of housing, particularly in urban areas, has not yet reached the levels necessary to meet demand.
Affordability: Housing costs have continued to grow well above general inflation, putting an increasing number of households under undue financial pressures and threatening to damage our economic competitiveness.
Security: Particularly for individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness; but also, for households in prolonged mortgage arrears and some in the rental sector.
In response to these challenges, the Housing Agency has, and will continue to play a key role in the implementation of the objectives set out in the Government’s strategy Rebuilding Ireland – Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness. Rebuilding Ireland prioritises addressing homelessness, the acceleration of housing delivery across all tenures, a better rental sector and a more efficient use of the housing stock.
The Housing Agency aims to have a real impact on people’s lives and particularly their housing experiences. To do this, over the next three years, the focus will be on five interconnecting themes:
• Being a centre of knowledge on housing to provide a deep understanding of the dynamics of the housing sector to inform policy decisions and effective programmes
• Optimising supply and utilisation of housing by informing policy decisions, working with others on delivery and monitoring progress
• Understanding housing demand and affordability by awareness of and responding to housing trends and working collaboratively on measures to deal with demand and affordability issues
• Realising results through its people – the Agency’s systems and culture will help to achieve strategic targets
• Meeting governance and service commitments – high standards of public-sector governance will be maintained, and strong partnerships built.
The Agency’s Strategy is underpinned by an understanding that good housing has four key features: security, quality, affordability and appropriateness. Security means that households can plan for their future. The quality of accommodation determines how safe and comfortable people are in their homes; but it is also about good design and the type of materials we use in construction to safeguard our future. If accommodation is unaffordable, this affects households’ choices, but it could also damage our economic recovery. Our housing stock needs to be appropriate, for instance: in size, accessibility and location, to meet current and future needs.
This is what the Agency will work to achieve under this Strategic Plan because good housing is central to achieving places where people want to live and where they have opportunities.
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