The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) has said that sufficient funding for approved housing body (AHB) social housing delivery as well as targeted and holistic cost-of-living supports must be at the forefront of Budget 2023 to protect the current housing delivery pipeline and ease the cost of living challenges faced by lower income households.
The ICSH has published its Pre-Budget 2023 Submission in which it calls for capital funding increases, in light of significant construction inflation, for the CALF and CAS schemes for new social housing construction, turnkey acquisition, and Part V build acquisitions. The Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) must also be increased to ensure new affordable cost rental schemes in the pipeline for 2023 remain viable and are delivered.
Vulnerable and Marginalised Households
The ICSH is also calling for a number of dedicated measures that respond to the current and future housing needs of Ireland’s most vulnerable and marginalised households such as the need for more single units for homeless households. The AHB sector is at the forefront of supported housing delivery. For example, our members are delivering homes across the country that enable older people to grow old in their communities. Budget 2023 must deliver a framework for the delivery of housing with supports for older persons, with housing associations as key stakeholders for delivery.
The housing needs of Traveller households must also be prioritised. New housing delivery and refurbishments must ensure that an adequate percentage of housing is designed for the needs of disabled people (who also represent a large cohort of households presenting as homeless). At the same time, providing permanent housing for the growing number homeless households must remain a priority.
Sustainable and Climate Resilient Housing
New housing delivery will contribute significantly to the built environment’s carbon emissions output. Therefore, sustainability measures such as green public procurement and the refurbishment of existing vacant or derelict homes, are essential in terms reducing emissions.
Budget 2023 must support the increased targeting of vacant buildings through resourcing schemes including Repair and Lease and Buy and Renew to increase social housing stock. Reducing the emissions footprint of our existing stock, and therefore protecting households vulnerable to rising energy costs, requires sufficient grant aid support for large-scale deep retrofitting of older AHB housing stock.
ICSH CEO, Donal McManus, has said that Budget 2023 must address our current vulnerabilities and invest to protect against future housing precarity: “In recent years, there has been very significant growth in social housing delivery, levels that haven’t been reached since the 1970s. Housing for All’s commitment to substantial, and ring-fenced, annual capital funding is important. However, the rapid increase in housing delivery costs means our funding streams need to be revised and adjusted, with targeted grant-in-aid measures to ensure that we can deliver on our social housing and cost rental targets. Equity and sustainability need to be key drivers in Budget 2023. Measures that help increase affordable housing delivery and that increase the energy efficiency of our existing social stock will help ease the additional cost-of-living burdens facing households now and in the future. Together, these ICSH proposals are based on the practical and worked experience of delivery by the AHB sector, and these Budget 2023 interventions can support the scaling-up of new social and affordable homes as well as housing for targeted groups”
The ICSH Budget 2023 submission includes the following key recommendations:
- Increase the Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) allocation for 2023 to €250m and the associated Payment and Availability (P&A) allocation to support the current AHB housing delivery pipeline.
- Increase the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS) to at least €120m to support the growing 2023 housing delivery pipeline including construction, turnkey acquisition, and Part 5 build acquisitions, which will provide housing and support for excluded groups such as households experiencing homelessness, disabled people, older people and those with mental health difficulties.
- Funding for the Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) scheme should be increased to €110m to ensure that the cost rental schemes in the pipeline for 2023 remain viable and are delivered.
- Maintain an ongoing review of the costs associated with construction price inflation.
- Ensure that low-income households are supported in terms of rising energy costs by expanding access to the fuel allowance and the additional needs payments.
- Increased targeting of vacant buildings through greater resourcing for schemes including repair and lease and buy and renew to increase social housing stock and allocate adequate resources to local authorities to pursue compulsory purchase orders for vacant properties and land to provide social housing.
- Establish a dedicated retrofitting budget for older AHB social housing stock.
- Address the serious recruitment and retention issues across service providers funded under S.39 of the Health Act 2004 and S.10 of the Housing Act 1988.
- Establish a dedicated Housing Options funding stream for housing related support services for older people to deliver more supported housing options in local communities.
- Introduce a funding mechanism to support the forward purchase of serviced residential land by AHBs to facilitate the delivery of social and affordable housing action plans.
- The ICSH Pre-Budget 2023 Submission is available to download here.
- The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) is the national federation for non-profit housing associations, representing more than 270 member organisations that provide social housing. The sector manages over 50,000 homes for families on a low income, older people, disabled people and households experiencing homelessness in over 900 communities throughout Ireland.