Housing Federation predicts rise in waiting lists for housing

Housing waiting lists will rise in the coming years and will exceed 100,000
households, the Irish Council for Social Housing warned today. The national
housing federation issued its warning at its Dublin regional meeting where
over 30 housing associations met to discuss the crisis.

One of the key issues highlighted by the ICSH was the radically reduced
level of capital funding now available for social housing compared to
rising demand. The ICSH also pointed to the need for new ways of raising
finance for social housing including private financial institutions.

The capital funding programme for social housing has been reduced
dramatically by 82% since 2008 from €1.38bn to €390m. ICSH Executive
Director, Mr Donal McManus commented ‘Social housing output is now at the
lowest levels in a generation which will directly affect people with
disabilities, the elderly, homeless persons and low income families
especially those who require specific support services’.

Against the backdrop of these funding cuts, the ICSH has written to the
Minister for Housing regarding a massive underspend, according to the
revised 2012 estimates, of €40.7 million for special needs housing which is
54% of the total capital budget for the voluntary housing sector for 2011.

Mr McManus stated, ‘In the absence of significant capital funding,
non-profit housing associations are working on a number of innovative ways
to ensure that they can continue to meet housing need through leasing
models. These include working in partnership with the Department of
Environment, Heritage and Local Government to leverage private finance,
acquiring NAMA properties, some regeneration projects and the new mortgage
to rent scheme’.

He concluded by saying, ‘These efforts must be supported by Government
through the provision of adequate continuous funding and effective
management of the scare resources available to the sector. It is essential
that financial institutions, including those who have already been
conferred with state guarantees, play their part in providing capital
funding for social housing to housing associations. Non-profit housing
associations should be viewed as SME’s who can create and sustain
employment in construction as well as the management and maintenance of
social housing. Support and ‘terms of trade’ between Government, financial
institutions and housing associations will be the only way to ensure a new
supply of social housing for the most vulnerable in our society’.

– The Irish Council for Social Housing is the National Federation of
social housing organisations with up to 300 housing associations affiliated

– Housing associations now provide over 27,000 homes for families,
elderly, homeless people and people with disabilities.

– In 2010, the Capital Loan and Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) which provided
housing for families was been abolished. Nearly 10,000 homes were provided
under this funding scheme.

– The Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS) which provides homes for the most
marginalized and vulnerable. The budget for this scheme was been cut by 52%
from €145m in 2010 to just €70m in 2012

– The capital programme for social housing for 2012 is €390m which is an
overall cut of 72% 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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