In line with “Rebuilding Ireland” commitments, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and a number of key Government Departments examined the feasibility of establishing a funding vehicle, in conjunction with the private sector to facilitate investment in social and affordable housing.
The objective was to create an 'off-balance sheet' mechanism which could facilitate investment additional to that being provided directly by the State and which would not impact on the General Government Balance. The investment was to take the form of either funding or forward purchasing the delivery of new mixed-tenure residential developments.
While, ISIF has made progress in conjunction with the other stakeholders in the public and private sectors in developing the off balance sheet model, as well as other potential social housing investment opportunities, ultimately it was not possible to overcome the considerable hurdles such as commerciality and balance sheet treatment.
Despite this and as part of Rebuilding Ireland the potential off balance sheet model has now been superseded by the Enhanced Long-Term Social Housing Leasing Scheme launched on 31 January 2018.
The NTMA, as the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA), acted as financial advisor to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in respect of the development of this long-term leasing model, however the NTMA has no role in relation to implementation of the scheme.
My colleague the Minister for Housing informs me that the Enhanced Long Term Social Housing Leasing Scheme is one of a suite of measures introduced under Pillar 2 of “Rebuilding Ireland: An Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness” aimed at private investment in order to deliver social housing at scale.
The scheme, which is managed by the Housing Agency, has a principal objective of encouraging increased private investment in social housing while ensuring that the up-front capital cost is off-balance sheet.