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Increased capacity within housing association sector will deliver 5,000 homes per year, social housing conference hears

Wednesday 22nd September 2021

Approved housing bodies (AHBs) are set to double the number of social homes they provide to meet the targets in the government’s national housing plan, Housing for All. That’s according to the Irish Council for Social Housing, the national federation for non-profit housing associations, who are holding their national housing conference (sponsored by AIB) online this week.

Speaking at the ‘Delivering Housing for All’ conference today (22.09.21), CEO of the ICSH, Dónal McManus said that AHBs can deliver approximately 5,000 units per year, doubling the number of public housing homes in AHB ownership and management by 2030 – which would make a significant contribution to meeting the social and affordable housing needs of families and vulnerable groups, such as those experiencing homelessness.

Mr. McManus added “It is essential that the new Local Authority Action Plans have clear targets for AHBs to ensure the Housing for All targets can be met. Our member AHBs also require residential sites, and the supports to acquire these, if we are to grow at the rate that we need to provide quality affordable housing for our growing population.

“Over the coming days, we will explore various models for housing delivery that respond to the challenges and opportunities highlighted in Housing for All. A critical factor amongst these is the impact that rising costs in construction have had on the delivery of housing. This increase is linked to construction labour shortages, as well as the current construction materials shortage and supply chain problems, which unfortunately is an international phenomenon.  

“We also need to look at alternative delivery methods – like modular solutions – that can help both the financial and carbon cost of materials, as well as offer resilience to disruption in materials supply. I look forward to exploring these options, and learning from the experience of other global experts from the sector over the coming days.”

Taking place from the 22nd – 24th September, the online conference features speakers from Ireland, Europe, USA and Singapore. Topics being explored will range from scale and delivery of public housing, sustainable solutions for households and affordability. Highlights from the line-up, include contributions from:

  • Dr. Johnny Wong, Group Director, Building & Research Institute , Housing & Development Board (HDB), Singapore. Dr. Wong is responsible for leading HDB’s efforts in spearheading innovative and cost-effective solutions to create a better living environment and achieve greater sustainability. Some of the key initiatives include: the formulation of the HDB Smart Town framework and the deployment of solar energy systems in public housing.
  • Marc McGovern, Councillor and Former Mayor, Cambridge City Council, Massachusetts, USA. Councillor McGovern is an advocate for more affordable housing in his community. His work on the Council has focused on tackling issues such as income insecurity, affordable housing, homelessness, and hunger. Mr Mc Govern led his Council to agree a new  initiative  for 100% affordable housing in his City.
  • Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General, Housing Europe. Ms. Edwards has vast experience in promoting inclusive housing policies and a fair energy transition in the EU and across Europe.

The ICSH biennial national social housing conference is sponsored by AIB. Commenting on the event, Cathy Bryce, Head of Capital Markets with AIB said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the ICSH annual conference for the third successive year.  AIB is committed to supporting sustainable communities and social housing is integral to this. We have been involved in this sector for many years, both in terms of providing development funding to build the homes and with investment funding to support the long-term investment of the homes.  Last year we launched a €300m Social Housing Fund which has been fully drawn down, and we are now launching an additional fund.  Furthermore, in 2021 we became the first Irish bank to issue a Social Bond Framework, and social housing is a key part of this.  It is clear that we have done much in this area, but, as always, we look to do more.

The full programme and running order for the conference can be accessed here.


Contact: Niamh Breathnach / Ciara Murphy, Alice PR & Events, Tel: 085-1461231/ 087-9626231 Email: