The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) has said that the Budget 2023 €2.6 billion capital and €1.4 billion current social and affordable housing investment commitment reassures with a sustained multi-annual funding of €4 billion, and signals shared purpose by a coalition government in response to a housing crisis that will remain challenging for the foreseeable future. Budget 2023 is a special cost-of-living response, and rightly so. The ICSH is pleased that specific additional payments for fuel allowance, living alone allowance, working family payment and addition needs payment recipients will help the most vulnerable households that include many AHB households. The ICSH also welcomes the commitment to the delivery of 5,500 cost rental and affordable homes through the approved housing body, local authority and Land development Agency partnership.
Speaking after the Budget 2023 statements today, Chief Executive of the Irish Council for Social Housing, Donal McManus, welcomed the €4 billion social and affordable housing investment, and much needed cost of living measures. “Today’s budget is one that has rightly prioritised the short to medium term additional energy costs that Irish households face. This is vital to ensure that vulnerable households are protected from energy poverty.
“The ICSH welcomes that the 10-year social and affordable housing programme is protected. The €2.6 billion capital commitment will deliver 9,300 primarily new build social homes in 2023 as well as a current funding commitment of €1.4 million billion, which will contribute to the delivery of 2,530 homes through schemes such as Mortgage to Rent and Repair and Lease.
“The ICSH welcomes the €443 million for the SHCEP programme (supporting 6,500 new homes and 27,600 existing tenancies). This represents a €98 million increase on the 2022 allocation. This is a firm commitment to the AHB delivery pipeline and supporting existing tenancies. The ICSH has been looking for a commitment to supporting the retrofitting of AHB homes for vulnerable tenants. It is important that the €87 million fund for social housing in Budget 2023 includes a substantial allocation to support the retrofitting of older AHB stock.
“Cost rental is an important layer of affordable delivery and a very popular scheme targeting hard-pressed renters in the private sector. Budget 2023 has increased the allocation of Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) fund from €70 million to €75m to enable the sector to ensure the delivery of 750 homes over the coming year. Cost Rental delivery has been impacted from rising construction costs and interest rates and that is why it is important that it is continually adapted by Government to ensure cost rental schemes are viable whilst being able to produce affordable rents.
Mr McManus added: “Our call for Budget 2023 has been for a focus on delivering affordable rental homes, targeting vulnerable and marginalised households and providing sustainable and climate resilient housing. Budget 2023 addressed these issues in the main. Ringfenced annual funding as part of a 10-year housing programme provides some certainty for the AHB sector to deliver on our targets. But this still remains challenging. Working alongside and in partnership with state agencies, local authorities and the Land Development Agency can help ensure this delivery.”