The ICSH is making this proposal in the context of great uncertainty and national emergency recognising the unprecedented demands currently being placed on the Government, public services, not-for-profit organisations and society. The COVID-19 public health emergency will have multiple ramifications across all aspects of civic life and it is our belief that we should try to ensure that the housing crisis is not further exacerbated during this difficult period. Decent housing and health systems are imperative for a society that can protect and take care of its citizens. As the housing system is already in crisis we are acutely aware that at this time we must pull together to ensure that potential negative impacts on new housing development can be alleviated as much as possible. AHBs are working hard in partnership with local authorities and the HSE to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable – the homeless, people with disabilities and the elderly. It is against this backdrop that we make this proposal.
The ICSH believes that delivering a fair and affordable housing system is a cornerstone for a better society. Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) are at the heart of local communities and have a proven track record in delivering and managing 35,000 homes and we provide specialist expertise in housing for older people, people with disabilities, homeless people as well as mainstream housing for families. Therefore, the AHB (housing association) sector is ready to work with the Government to tackle the housing crisis as part of meeting both housing delivery targets as well as other housing related priorities in a range of areas. The increased delivery of additional social and affordable housing can also play a key role in preventing the further shrinking of rural towns and loss of population and services.
As a federation, the ICSH can draw on almost 40 years of knowledge and experience as well as developing and implementing new housing initiatives which has witnessed the sector increase in size from 2,000 homes in the 1980’s to almost 40,000 homes by 2020. AHB’s work in every local authority area; provide general and special needs accommodation; have scaled up delivery under every funding scheme with in depth experience of building, leasing, acquiring homes as well as a proven track record in managing social housing successfully to higher level of satisfaction from tenants as demonstrated from previous national surveys.