The Housing Alliance today announced that its members are now responsible for approximately 19,963 social housing tenancies across Ireland. This represents two thirds of the total AHB (Approved Housing Body) housing stock owned or managed by the 253 AHBs registered with the AHB regulator. In 2019 alone, Housing Alliance members are on target to deliver 4296 homes across Ireland. In total, some 10,000 units are estimated to be delivered before the end of 2021.
The latest housing delivery figures were announced at the AHB summit organised by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in the Custom House. Speaking at the summit, the Chair of the Housing Alliance, Brian O’Gorman commented: “Members of the Housing Alliance continue to work in partnership with the Department of Housing, each of the local authorities, the Housing Agency and our funding partners, to deliver much needed social housing. The figures released today show both the strength of the AHB sector and its sustained level of growth. In response to strong social housing demand, we are seeing unprecedented levels of delivery.”
The Housing Alliance is a collaboration of six of the larger Irish Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs): Clúid Housing, Circle Voluntary Housing Association, Co-operative Housing Ireland, Oaklee Housing, Respond, and Túath Housing.
It was formed with the overall aim of promoting the delivery of social and affordable housing by larger AHBs, which share similar challenges and opportunities in realising their objectives.
At the same time as working collaboratively on a range of issues, Housing Alliance members explicitly retain their status as independent and autonomous organisations.
Local Authority Partnerships
The national housing action plan, Rebuilding Ireland identifies AHBs as key delivery partners for new social housing, recognising “their track record both in terms of housing provision and management”. The ambitious delivery targets, outlined above, of Housing Alliance members rely upon the support of the local authorities. O’Gorman continued:
“We know that collaboration is the key to meeting the delivery targets set out in Rebuilding Ireland. We are committed to providing good quality social and affordable housing that addresses the needs of those on low incomes and those unable to afford private rented accommodation.”
Despite this commitment, challenges remain, as explained by O’Gorman:
“The decision by Eurostat to reclassify AHBs as government bodies places AHBs on the government balance sheet, which may threaten AHB funding in the medium term. The Housing Alliance welcomes Minister Murphy’s support for the AHB sector and his commitment to support the reversal of AHB borrowing reclassification as on-balance sheet. We are working very hard to determine what needs to be done to reverse this decision and return us to off-balance sheet status. ”