The Minister for Housing and Planning, Ms. Jan O’Sullivan, T.D. has launched a report (Wednesday 18th April), commissioned by Clúid Housing Association, which highlights key measures needed to fund successfully the provision of social housing in Sligo and around Ireland.
The report, entitled “Financing the Irish Social Rented Housing Sector: Lessons from England and Canada” looks in detail at two countries that use private finance to deliver social housing.
Clúid’s Regional Director in Sligo, Mick Concannon said: “Clúid is confident that private finance can help to provide homes to people on social housing waiting lists in Sligo and around the country.”
He added: “Government funding can be employed more effectively by using it to leverage private finance which in turn will deliver more social housing. Other countries have taken to this model already and it has proved to return a much greater funding stream.”
Minister O’Sullivan said: “The Government sees voluntary and cooperative housing associations as being at the heart of social housing provision in the years ahead and this will call for creative and imaginative measures in terms of both financing solutions and housing measures.
“The use of loan finance has the potential to develop a stronger, more sustainable funding base for social housing and the challenge for the sector now is to learn from experiences abroad as applied to the Irish context.”
By looking at how the UK and Canada successfully employ a private finance model, the research, commissioned by Clúid, identified some of the key measures that would help to make private finance work in Ireland.
One of the report’s main recommendations is the need for an independent regulator for the social housing sector. The research found that effective regulation is the single most important element in creating an environment in which private funders can lend to housing associations with confidence.
Mr. Concannon commented: “Clúid believes that effective regulation is critical to inspiring confidence among private lenders in the housing association sector which will in turn lead to a flow of funds from private funders.”
T he significant reduction in Government funding available has led to housing associations seeking private funding, in the form of loans from banks or the Housing Finance Agency. This private funding is supported by a low level of Government subsidy.
Mr. Concannon added: “With the economic decline the Government has transformed social housing in Ireland in the past year by giving housing associations a much greater role in the delivery of social housing, and by moving towards a private finance model of funding. As one of the biggest providers of social housing in Ireland, Clúid Housing Association is in a position to source this funding.
“We are keen to keep this momentum alive by working with Minister O’Sullivan and her Department to discuss some of the recommendations in this report in order to develop a successful private finance model.”
The report “Financing the Irish Social Rented Housing Sector: Lessons from England and Canada” is available to download on www.cluid.ie.
Photo: Minister for Housing and Planning Jan O’Sullivan T.D.(right) and Clúid's Head of Policy, Simon Brooke applaud a report, commissioned by Clúid Housing Association, which highlights key measures needed to fund successfully the provision of social housing. The report, entitled “Financing the Irish Social Rented Housing Sector: Lessons from England and Canada” looks in detail at two countries that use private finance to deliver social housing. Photo: Peter Houlihan / Patrick Bolger Photography