The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) has welcomed today’s publication of the Capital Advance leasing Facility (CALF) review. We are keenly aware that the completion of this review allows for a significant number of housing projects to progress immediately and thousands of new homes to be built. This is our members’ primary funding stream for public housing delivery and review and reform of the funding model signals a progressive public housing policy that will ensure the approved housing body construction pipeline of over 8,000 homes will be delivered. In particular, we welcome the proposed discontinuation of limiting the Payment and Availability Agreement (P&A) amount to a percentage of local market rent. This is a key measure that will ensure viability of AHB housing projects in both urban and rural communities. The review recommendations also include an explicit link between applications for financial support under P&A-CALF and the Local Authorities’ Housing Delivery Action Plans (HDAP). This is an important approach to ensure that our public housing programme, delivered in partnership with the local authorities, is aligned with local, regional and national housing need. The establishment of an internal Departmental working group to explore the issue of gearing (debt to asset value ratio) within the approved housing body sector is an also an important measure to ensure the sector remains sustainable and adequately funded going forward.
Speaking on foot of the review, ICSH Director of Development Operations, Éadaoin Ní Chléirigh said: “The ICSH alongside our Finance Working Group, composed of representatives from a number of ICSH member AHBs, has been in constant communication with the Department of Housing to support the development of a new CALF model that is fit-for-purpose and that will ensure AHB delivery targets under Housing for All are met. CALF has been a very successful model to date for AHB social housing delivery, with a quick and efficient approval process. We look forward to seeing this operating on the ground and welcome more comprehensive detail with the publication of guidance notes and circulars.
ICSH CEO, Donal McManus, added: “As the national social housing federation, representing more than 270 approved housing bodies across Ireland, we welcome these new CALF measures. In 2021, the AHB sector delivered almost 4000 homes, despite COVID constraints. 3367 of these homes were delivered using the CALF funding model. Our member AHBs are tasked with delivering 43% of new social housing and more than 40% of the new cost rental homes annually under Housing for All to 2030. It is critical that that the sector has a sustainable approach in terms of the levels of debt and loan finance AHBs take on. These measure will help ensure this.”
- The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) is the national federation for non-profit housing associations representing more than 270 member organisations that manage more than 53,000 homes and house almost 120,000 people including families on a low income, older people, disabled people and households experiencing homelessness. ICSH members operate in every local authority area in the country and in over 600 communities across Ireland.
- The Housing for All review of the Capital Advanced Leasing Facility (CALF) funding model is available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/7ea35-housing-for-all-review-of-the-capital-advanced-leasing-facility-calf-funding-model/
- Capital Advanced Leasing Facility (CALF) funding is capital support provided to AHBs by local authorities to facilitate the funding of construction, acquisition or refurbishment of new social housing homes. This loan facility can support up to 30% of the eligible capital cost of the housing project, with the homes provided to local authorities for social housing use under long-term lease arrangements known as Payment and Availability Agreements (P&A). A Payment and Availability Agreement (P&A agreement) is the contract whereby a local authority makes payments to an AHB on a regular basis. 92%-95% of market rent is paid to AHBs for units through acquisition and construction by housing associations.
- The CALF-P&A funding programme is the main source of funding to AHBs for social housing delivery. The balance of the investment required is borrowed separately by the AHB either from the Housing Finance Agency or other senior lenders as required. AHBs can only avail of this funding if they enter into a P&A agreement with the local authority for the same period, making the relevant properties available for social housing – providing accommodation for people on the relevant local authority’s waiting list, for the same period of time. It is a payment that is made to the AHB each month for a term of up to 30 years. The maximum P&A amount available per home is capped at 92% of the market rent for comparable homes in the area. This amount is set at the start of the P&A agreement term and is reviewed typically every four years by reference to an inflation index and not the prevailing market rent. The maximum P&A amount may be set at up to 95% for apartments which are subject to a management company service charge where there are viability issues with 30% CALF and 92% P&A.