Enormous Challenge Ahead for Social Housing Providers

Budget 2012 has delivered yet more difficult news for vulnerable households in need of social housing. Non-profit housing associations will be affected by both capital and revenue funding cuts which make the challenge of delivering social housing for vulnerable groups more difficult. The capital funding budget has been reduced yet again by 23% as well as reduced provisions for leasing.

Changes are also being made to the minimum contribution that single tenants make towards their rent. This will increase by €6 to €30 per week, while couples will have to pay a minimum of €35 per week. Mr Donal McManus Executive Director of the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) stated, ‘The cumulative impact of this with other social welfare changes will be significant and may have unintended consequences such as an increase in homelessness’.

Mr McManus, commented ‘It is difficult to reconcile the significant reduction in capital expenditure of 23% for social housing provided by housing associations with a proposed reduction of €7million of current funding for leasing. To house vulnerable groups in social housing you either use capital or revenue funding and cutting both is a pincer movement’.

Mr McManus added: ‘While we recognize the context in which Budget 2012 is being framed some of these reductions in expenditure are simply short term responses which will have long term consequences. There should be a much more strategic understanding of the relationship between capital and revenue funding for social housing’.

  • The Irish Council for Social Housing is the National Federation of social housing organisations with over 300 housing associations affiliated nationwide.
  • Housing associations now provide over 25,000 homes for families, elderly, homeless people and people with disabilities.
  • In the last year, the Capital Loan and Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) which provided housing for families has been abolished.
  • The Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS) provides homes for the most marginalized and vulnerable. The budget for this scheme has been cut by 30% from €145m in 2010 to just €90m in 2011
  • The capital programme for social housing for 2012 is €334m which is 26% cut from 2011 Budget and an overall cut of 76% since 2008. This is a severe reduction in the funding available for purchase of units, new build where needed or rescue schemes for distressed mortgage holders.
  • Further cuts are planned by 2016 to reduce the budget down to €182m which will dramatically impact on any serious provision of social housing in Ireland.

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