2019 was a record-breaking year for the ICSH Allianz Community Housing Awards, which saw 50 entries across 10 categories. The quality of housing was exceptionally high and we are delighted to again have the opportunity to recognise excellence in the social housing sector, delivered by approved housing bodies and local authorities. Well done to all entrants, shortlisted projects and winners for delivering houisng of such an exceptional standard, making differences to lives and communities all over Ireland.
The awards were presented at the biennial ICSH National Social Housing Conference held in Wexford on October 10th 2019.
Overall Winner – Category: Homeless Projects
Focus Housing Association – 5-6 Johns Lane West, Dublin 8
Category: Housing for Older People – Small Scheme
Bandon Geriatric and Community Council.
This project was praised by judges for delivering excellent quality housing foe older people with a design that is sympathetic to the architecture style of the historic town-centre location. Each house is A3 rated, with innovative sustainability measures in place. areas. The houses are within easy walking distance of all facilities and tenants have described living there as “like winning the Lotto”.
Category: Housing for Older People – Large Scheme
Cork City Council – Arus Mhuire, Skehard Road, Blackrock, Cork
This scheme was praised by judges for its attractive design and making excellent use of a limited site – creating 30 new homes on the site of what was previously one derelict bungalow. A particular focus of this scheme was rightsizing – allowing older people to move out of larger homes into more appropriately sized accommodation with tailored services. This, in turn, freed up much needed family sized homes for social housing use throughout Cork City.
Category: Housing for People with Disabilities
Irish Wheelchair Association – Na Fraoch, Logmore, Belmullet, Co. Mayo
This scheme was commended by judges for its innovative use of assistive technologies allowing tenants with physical disabilities to live independently and fully as part of a supportive and inclusive community. The integration of the units as part of the community in Belmullet, Co. Mayo was a particular feature of this scheme. It consists of 7 two-bedroom units of fully wheelchair usable housing. Universal design principles have been utilised throughout to ensure future adaptations can be carried out as easily as possible. The homes are A3 rated and this scheme is a model of best practice housing for people with physical disabilities.
Category: Housing for Families
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, George’s Place
This scheme was praised for its attractive design and its use of a brownfield site of an old council depot; creating a new streetscape and homes for 12 families. It is an excellent example of urban design and showcases how family housing can be provided in an urban area in a way that maximises the use of limited land. The units have an A1 BER rating and are designed to passive house standard. It is another example of rightsizing, with tenants coming from a variety of housing situations – downsizing, coming from overcrowded housing situations and exiting homelessness
Peter Mc Verry Trust St Agatha’s Court Dublin 1.
In a category that was a particular challenge for the judges, St. Agatha’s Court was chosen as winner for a number of reasons – the judges felt there is huge scope to regenerate smaller-scale housing projects in this way. The regeneration although relatively small in scale, still involved significant work with the existing community to ensure their concerns and wishes were respected. The development involved reconfiguring the existing structure to make better use of space as well as new build elements at each end of the building. The result is one and two bed apartments and a community of tenants exiting homelessness into permanent homes.
Category: Most Creative Supply Response
Tuath and Dublin City Council – Harold’s Court, Dublin 12
This project involved Tuath Housing utilising its reserves to purchase a refurbished apartment block of 4 one-bed and 19 two-bed apartments in Dublin 12. Further financing was provided through a pension fund sale and leaseback. In purchasing it, they beat off offers from a private sector real estate investment trust who would have charged what Tuath’s Chief Executive describes as “eye-watering rents”. Tuath and the judges believe this scheme is a proof of concept that can be replicated throughout the country and it represents a “sector fightback” – a small but significant step in combatting the affordability crisis
Category: Collaboration Initiatives
Cork City Council and Cluid Leeside Apartments
This project involved a swift and effective collaborative response from Cluid Housing and Cork City Council to purchase a block of apartments in which all tenants were about to be evicted due to the landlord carrying out refurbishment. It was acknowledged that Cluid as the new landlord had carried out extensive improvement works on the apartments. The key element of this project which particularly impressed the judges was the quick response by both Cork City Council and Cluid to work together to bring this project to fruition. It prevented 78 tenants from becoming homeless and created new units of social housing stock in the centre of Cork City.
Category: Community Integration in Housing
Foscadh Lia Bhreaga, The Twenties, Drogheda
This was another category which judges deliberated over extensively as there was huge merit in the shortlisted schemes. The winning project was chosen in recognition for the huge work Foscadh Housing Association have done in difficult circumstances – creating a safe haven in the midst of estates with significant feuding and anti-social behaviour which has made national news. Lia Bhreaga is a scheme of 69 turn-key homes providing housing for families, single people, older persons and people with additional support needs. There are 18 different nationalities housed here with over 20 languages spoken in the estate. There is a thriving community spirit in the estate with Foscadh working hard to sustain this with regular community events, support provided to tenants in their own language, initiatives to empower tenants to take ownership of their community, all of which have resulted in tenants forming strong bonds with each other and developing a thriving community.
Category: Housing Management Models
Clare County Council Planned Maintenance programme
The judges praised Clare County Council and its pro-active approach to managing its housing stock and creating a detailed live system of the state of every unit of social housing stock in the county. At a time when all housing providers are under pressure to deliver, Clare County Council was praised by the judges for taking such a positive and pro-active step in managing its existing stock. This model is one which the judges felt could and should be replicated in local authorities around the country.
Category: Achievement in Community Housing
This award is a special recognition for achievement and commitment in housing by voluntary board member(s), individuals or local authority elected members demonstrating a high level of leadership in housing delivery and management over a sustained period. This year we shortlisted and recognised a number of very deserving recipients:
The 2019 ICSH/Allianz Community Housing Awards – Meet the Shortlist!
This year we received the largest number of entries ever – more than 50 – in the history of the competition. We have travelled to the 4 proud provinces; we have visited 16 counties (some counties have several sites entered in the competition). We visited 18 sites in Dublin and 7 sites in Cork. We have been to the Gaeltacht in Cork and Mayo, to the most southerly and westerly parts of the Island and dipped our toes in the Irish Sea and the Atlantic.
Every category in the competition has entries, the most competitive categories being Housing for Older People and Housing for People with Disabilities. We had record numbers of entries from Local Authorities and we have learned so much during the shortlisting process What stands out is the quality of social housing being delivered, the design, the assistive technologies in use and the the attention to sustainability and renewable sources of energy. What is also clear is the importance of the social/community dimension to social housing projects, the support services, tenant involvement and overall quality of life and the integration of international communities and its contribution to community cohesion. Congratulations to all the entries.