The Government’s housing policy statement, published in June 2011, recognises the approved housing body sector as a key partner in the delivery of social housing solutions for low-income families and persons with specific categories of housing need.
Delivery of social housing is being significantly facilitated through more flexible funding models such as the Rental Accommodation Scheme and leasing as well as through the sourcing of loan finance by approved housing bodies (AHBs) for construction and acquisition of social housing units.
The Housing Finance Agency has thus far awarded ‘Certified Body’ status to 6 AHBs, from 13 applications. These AHBs have made 8 loan applications, totalling €18.9 million, which have been approved and, when fully drawn down, will deliver over 200 individual housing units.
I am determined to ensure that the social housing programme is framed in a manner which optimises the delivery of social housing and the return for the resources invested. To achieve this it is essential that we tailor the use of available Exchequer supports to prevailing conditions and explore the full range of solutions to address housing needs.
In spite of the challenging circumstances within which local authorities have been operating, a tentative outturn in the order of 4,000 housing units was achieved in 2012. Given the current volatility of the market and different challenges to the channels of supply, it is difficult to estimate the likely output of new units for social housing this year. However, it is provisionally estimated that in the region of 5,000 units will be provided for social housing in 2013.