The core objective of the Housing Alliance is to achieve a step change in the increased delivery of new social and affordable homes. The Alliance recently appointed Sean O’Connor as its new Chairman and John Hannigan as Vice Chairman. Sean is CEO of Tuath and a Chartered Surveyor, John is CEO of Circle and a chartered accountant — between them is over 60 years’ housing experience.
The Housing Alliance is a collaboration of six of Ireland’s largest approved housing bodies (AHBs): Clúid Housing, Circle Voluntary Housing, Co-operative Housing Ireland, Oaklee Housing, Respond and Tuath Housing. To deliver much-needed social housing, the Housing Alliance intends to work in partnership with the Government, local authorities, The Housing Agency, funders, including the HFA and the private sector. Collectively, the Alliance is responsible for over 28,000 homes nationwide and collectively delivered over 3,800 new homes in 2020. Its goal is to deliver high-quality housing at best value and to provide first-class services to tenants. It welcomes the Government’s commitment to ensuring that housing is made more affordable for all and see house building as a vital investment for future generations of tomorrow and a driver of economic activity today, as Ireland seeks to recover from the pandemic.
In its submission to government on its Housing for All policy consultation, the Housing Alliance called for:
- An increase in the social housing stock by a minimum of 50,000 new build homes over the next five years and a commitment with the not-for-profit AHB sector to the delivery of at least 50 per cent of the overall minimum target, or 25,000 homes.
- An increase in Part V housing delivery to a minimum 20 per cent social and affordable with discretion remaining with local authorities to determine the tenure breakdown based on local need and preferred mix for the area. In order to encourage new building, the Alliance asks for VAT and development levies to be waived on AHB development in order to reduce the overall cost of production and to lower tenant rents.
- Recognition of the importance of retrofitting existing social homes and the provision of high speed, affordable broadband nationwide in the context of equality of opportunity and the creation of sustainable communities. To encourage retrofitting spend, the Alliance asks for a VAT waiver on property decarbonisation expenditure to improve the energy efficiency of existing AHB homes and to eliminate fuel poverty amongst tenants.
- The Department of Housing and other government bodies to work with the AHB sector to return AHBs to their former status of ‘non-profit institutions serving households’ status as quickly as possible.
- The Government to define ‘affordability’ and for an ‘affordable’ rent to be measured as a percentage of a household’s income, preferably not exceeding 30 per cent of net income and that a five-year budget be allocated to support a significant Affordable Rental building programme.