Simon Communities respond to the Social Housing Delivery & New Home Indicators Report
The Simon Communities in Ireland today welcomed the publication of the ‘Social Housing Delivery & New Home Indicators Report’. However the housing and homelessness organisation expressed concern over the pace of delivery of homes for those who need them and the ongoing the reliance on the private sector. In addition, there are concerns about methods used for measuring social housing completions. The Simon Communities also said that there are approximately 100,000 households on the social housing waiting list.
Niamh Randall, Head of Policy and Communications warned of over reliance on the private sector to deliver social and affordable housing.
“Progress on social housing must be welcomed but given the sheer scale of housing need there are real concerns about the pace of delivery. According to the new figures, social housing builds in 2017 amounted to 2,245 which included 1,058 local authority builds. While this is an increase on 2016, it still falls short of figures from a decade ago; in 2008 there were 6,801 social houses built (Local Authorities 4,905 and AHB 1,896). In addition, there is a huge reliance on the private sector especially in the form of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), 17,916 new HAP tenancies were established in 2017. It is important to note that some for these are transfers from Rent Supplement so while new to the HAP payment these households would not be new recipients of social housing support. The long term solution to this housing and homelessness crisis is to build social and affordable housing. The Private Rented Sector remains in crisis with increases in ‘renovictions’ other measures to get around Rent Pressure Zones. The Government has acknowledged that the current market cannot deliver the required housing mix, therefore there must be a move away from private sector reliance and the commodification of housing.”
“The failure to deliver affordable housing has been a leading cause of homelessness and a major impediment to exiting homelessness for low income households. We need a wide range of measures urgently including the State, in conjunction with Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies, building social and affordable housing across all tenure types within sustainable communities nationwide. Targeting of land hoarding and derelict sites is a barrier to deliver new supply and affordable housing. As house prices continue to rise, the price of development land increases in tandem, leading to prolonged hoarding of vital development land in anticipation of greater profits following eventual sale. This could be addressed through measures such as adequate vacant site levies and compulsory acquisition of land. There is also ongoing confusion about housing figures especially housing completion figures; this needs to be addressed as you cannot manage what you cannot measure.”
“This report comes at a time when many people are being priced out of the private rental sector, which not only puts people at risk of homelessness but also prevents people from moving out of homelessness. While we await social and affordable housing to come on stream, security of tenure and full rent certainty must be enhanced; these are the building blocks for a stable rental sector and will help keep people in the homes they have preventing homelessness. The numbers of individuals and families leaving homelessness are welcome but the numbers entering homelessness remain greater than those exiting so a concerted focus on prevention is key.”
“At the end of the day, behind these figures are real people who are trying to live their lives and build a permanent, secure home for themselves and their families. Ensuring people have access to social and affordable housing will mean that people can plan for their future.”
The Simon Communities deliver support, housing, homeless and treatment services to over 11,000 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness on an annual basis.
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Tel: 01 671 1606/ 085 806 5141
About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities in Ireland are a network of eight regionally based independent Simon Communities based in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the North West and the South East that share common values and ethos in tackling all forms of homelessness throughout Ireland, supported by a National Office. The Simon Communities have been providing services in Ireland for over 45 years. The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 11,000 people and families throughout Ireland who experience – or are at risk of – homelessness every year. Whatever the issue, for as long as we are needed, Simon’s door is always open. For more information please log on to www.simon.ie
Services range from
- Housing provision, tenancy sustainment & settlement services, housing advice & information services helping people to make the move out of homelessness & working with households at risk;
- Specialist health & treatment services addressing some of the issues which may have contributed to homeless occurring or may be a consequence;
- Emergency accommodation & support providing people with a place of welcome, warmth & safety;
- Soup runs & rough sleeper teams who are often the first point of contact for people sleeping rough.
 The report states 2,245 social house were built in 2017 which were included 1,058 local authority builds, 799 Approved Housing Body (AHB) builds, 388 homes delivered through the Part V mechanism.