That’s according to Housing Agency CEO Bob Jordan, who was speaking today at the launch of the Agency’s new Statement of Strategy 2022-2024.
The Housing Agency is the Government Agency working to deliver sustainable and affordable housing for all. Its Statement of Strategy was launched today by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD. It frames the work of The Housing Agency under three broad themes:
- Being a centre for housing knowledge;
- Bridging housing supply and demand; and
- Building capacity for housing.
Speaking at today’s launch, Bob Jordan said: “Over the coming years, The Housing Agency will use research, informed policy insights and data to work to achieve a housing system that meets the housing needs of our nation and promotes viable, sustainable communities. We look forward to supporting and equipping our key stakeholders in the housing system, including local authorities such as Tipperary County Council and Approved Housing Bodies nationwide. We will work with them to deliver homes in sustainable communities that meet the range of needs that exist across Tipperary and the rest of the country.”
Improving affordability is key
“The Housing Agency has been central to developing a vision for a new form of tenure in Ireland: Cost Rental,” continued Bob Jordan. “These are high-quality, long-term rental homes being made available to people on middle incomes at rents below market rates. Having already helped deliver the country’s first 65 Cost Rental homes, in the coming years we will work to deliver Cost Rental homes at scale.
“We are also working to increase the supply of affordable homes for people to buy. We will do this by supporting the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and local authorities with the Local-Authority-led Affordable Dwelling Purchase Scheme, which is about delivering affordable homes to purchase in specific targeted areas with affordability problems, and by supporting the reformed Local Authority Home Loan Scheme. We will also support the nationwide rollout of the First Home affordable purchase shared equity scheme, delivering homes developed by the private sector and made more affordable for people to buy with the assistance of an equity share.
“The Housing Agency will continue to play a strong role in delivering more social homes, promoting social inclusion, and supporting sustainable mixed communities by addressing the housing needs of those who face additional challenges in accessing and securing accommodation. This includes assisting Tipperary County Council and Approved Housing Bodies in Tipperary with acquisitions, providing more technical services and supports to local authorities through our expanded Procurement and Delivery unit, strengthening the Mortgage to Rent Scheme, supporting the National Housing Strategy for Disabled People and expanding Housing First to support those experiencing homelessness into permanent homes.
“Huge potential already exists within Ireland’s housing system, in the form of homes not yet built but with planning permission, vacant homes, or empty commercial buildings in our towns and city centres. The Housing Agency will take a practical approach to unlocking the viability of such sites to create new supplies of homes. This will include providing advisory services to Tipperary County Council and all local authorities on the compulsory purchase programme for vacant properties, while collaborative work with the Town Centre First Programme will improve our town centres for communities across the country.”
Housing for All
The Housing Agency’s new Statement of Strategy is framed in the context of Housing for All, the Government’s housing plan for Ireland. Launching the report, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, said:
“I am delighted to launch The Housing Agency Statement of Strategy 2022-2024 today. The Housing Agency is the Government Agency which will carry out vital work to assist in the delivery of sustainable and affordable housing under Housing for All. We have some very challenging targets to meet under Housing for All, which will see this Government spend over €4 billion in funding annually, on the delivery of 10,000 social homes and 6,000 affordable homes for purchase or rent.
The Housing Agency has a proven track record in assisting in the delivery of social and affordable homes and I look forward to working with Bob and his team for the next three years and beyond. Housing for All has at its very core the delivery of much needed social and affordable homes which will transform people’s lives. With the assistance of the Housing Agency and our other stakeholders I look forward to ensuring that these homes are delivered for individuals and families.”
Achievements Over the Past Three Years
In addition to setting out its vision for the future, The Housing Agency’s Statement of Strategy looks at key achievements from 2019 to 2021. These include:
- Completing 1,052 Mortgage to Rent cases, enabling almost 3,000 people (including 1,282 children) to stay living in their homes.
- Delivering 1,408 homes under leasing.
- Processing 6,845 Local Authority Home Loan applications (with 4,565 recommended for approval).
- Acquiring 650 homes for social housing.
- Remediating 900 homes under the Pyrite Remediation Scheme, bringing the overall number of homes remediated to 2,291.
- Offering professional and technical services, including design and project management, in delivering 20 housing projects for both local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies.
- Supporting the delivery of Irelands first 65 cost rental homes through the Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) scheme
“We are acutely aware that housing remains a priority issue for Government – and for society as a whole,” said Bob Jordan. “We know many challenges remain, but it is important to also highlight progress that has been made in recent years. Over the period 2022 to 2024, our ambition is to build on this progress. We will continue to develop and implement innovative solutions to address the housing challenges experienced by people living in Tipperary and throughout Ireland, including in the areas of affordability, the viability and activation of housing stock, the delivery of social housing and issues of social inclusion.”