The Housing Alliance is a collaboration between some of Ireland’s largest AHBs to provide more and better homes. Our members delivered the State’s first cost rental homes and provide almost 30,000 homes to social tenants; 40 per cent of the national social housing pipeline is currently provided by Housing Alliance members.
Housing for All includes welcome measures intended to bring a more structured and evidence-based approach to housing policy: Ireland needs to be proactive rather than reactive in addressing housing challenges.
Key here is a commitment to “ensure that the ambition of Housing for All is translated into clear, target driven Local Authority Delivery Action Plans”. Government has issued targets to each local authority and charged the AHB sector with delivering 45 per cent of the national social housing supply to 2026. Each local authority has to develop a five-year plan setting out the what, where and who of housing provision. Crucially, the plans are to identify both existing land holdings, as well as additional land needed to deliver on the targets. Local authorities submitted their first draft housing delivery action plans in December 2021 and plan to issue final plans by the end of June 2022.
This planned approach is valuable, but faces some significant implementation challenges.
One challenge is the land on which to build homes. Housing for All commits government to supporting local authorities to “acquire additional land to deliver a housing programme”.
Once the housing delivery action plans are published, we may learn more about how this outcome will be realised.
A second challenge relates to financing. Securing multi annual funding for the housing programme was a significant accomplishment. However, Brexit, Covid-19, and the war in Ukraine are all driving inflation at a rate not seen for some time. Interest rates have increased, and are likely to continue to rise. This means every home costs more to provide now than it did when Housing for All was launched. Providers need to borrow more money at higher interest rates to deliver the same number of homes: the same funding produces fewer homes now than a year ago. A targeted delivery grant could maximise the number of homes which AHBs can provide.
The Housing Alliance has a strong track record of delivering homes, at scale and at pace. We believe that by working constructively in partnership with government and local authorities, practical solutions to the challenges Ireland faces can be found to deliver the housing we need.
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