The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) is asking that Budget 2021 be centrally focused on improving access to affordable, good quality, secure accommodation for all households. The ICSH is making this proposal in the context of Covid-19 and the unprecedented challenges affecting all aspects of society and the economy, underpinning the need for secure homes for all households.
The pandemic reinforced the reality that without a home people are vulnerable, less safe and less secure. Without a home many of our citizens cannot protect themselves in times of turbulence, such as in a pandemic.
That is why we are calling for an increased social housing budget to ensure the delivery of homes to meet targets already established. Approved Housing Bodies are working hard to keep the pipeline going so that homes can be delivered for families and single people on low incomes, older people, people with disabilities and homeless people.
Another issue emerging in 2020 is the need for us to examine how we care for older people. Members of the ICSH who provide supported housing for older people all over Ireland have provided simply amazing support for their tenants resulting in a very low Covid-19 rate in such projects. The supported housing model ensures own-door access, which limits the risks associated with congregated or institutional setting. We are asking the Government to establish a dedicated Housing Options funding stream for housing related support services for older people to deliver more supported housing options in local communities.
In response to the ongoing affordability crisis in the private rented sector, we would welcome a national cost rental housing scheme as committed to in the Programme for Government that will deliver homes to rent at scale. This scheme can be structured to provide quality homes at an affordable rent to many struggling families and people.
Among our 15 recommendations, we also seek support to introduce the changes required to reverse the on-balance sheet AHB Classification decision. Every year the Budgetary process presents an opportunity for priorities to be re-set and commitments, such as in the Programme for Government, to be realised.
The ICSH believes that a decent housing system is a cornerstone for a better society and approved housing bodies are a key part of that system.
Karen Murphy, ICSH Policy Director