Respond, an Approved Housing Body and service provider welcomed today’s Budget 2021 measures addressing housing and homelessness. The organisation said it is positive to see the Government take a counter-cyclical investment approach, increasing investment in social and affordable housing in 2021.
Niamh Randall, Head of Advocacy and Communications for Respond, said,“The inclusion of the affordable rental measures in Budget 2021 is a very significant development which has the potential to transform the Irish Housing landscape. This will offer an alternative rental option, allowing for greater housing affordability and choice. This affordable rental option for people who do not qualify for social housing, but may not be able to afford to purchase their own home, some of whom are struggling to keep a roof over their heads on the private rental sector, will make a real difference. Prior to this there was no funded model to provide affordable rental housing. The lack of affordable housing, whether renting or buying, has had greatest impact on those in low incomes and living in poverty. We have been advocating for a number of years for a sustainable and replicable model to deliver affordable rental homes which we believe could be transformative.
We look forward to working with the Minister and Department on the details in the coming weeks. Respond have been leading in this area, working with our partners in delivering the pilot cost rental pathways project in Enniskerry Road.
Respond welcome the housing package investing €5.2b in housing with commitment to 12,750 new social homes of which 9,500 will be new builds. We are keen to continue playing our part in delivering social homes for individual and families who need them. It is also very welcome to see the focus on new builds, adding to existing housing stock, which is a key objective for Respond. Respond currently have 1,288 in construction and onsite all around the country. The commitment of €65m for the deep retrofitting of social housing is welcome to allow for upgrades of older housing stock. We look forward to more detail on these announcements.
No one could have foreseen the global pandemic and the impact it would have on all of our lives. Covid-19 has shown how having a safe, secure home as part of a vibrant, diverse community is critical to the quality of life and wellbeing of individuals and families. We in Respond want to build and deliver as many homes as we can, working closely with our statutory partners, for families and individuals in housing need. This investment in social housing and affordable rental homes will support the economy to recover quickly and allow for the continued provision of housing to those who urgently need it. Never has it been more important to have a secure home.
We are pleased to see an increase in the homeless budget of an additional 22 million. Prevention and early intervention are key to ending the crisis and stopping the flow of families and individuals into emergency accommodation. People need support to keep a roof over their heads and enabling people to maintain their tenancy, their home, is critical. We know that Housing First is the best way to address homelessness (providing the necessary housing as quickly as possible once a person become homeless and then providing support in housing) so it is welcome that Budget 2021 should ensure the continued implementation of the National Implementation Strategy for Housing First. The solution to homelessness is access to secure and affordable homes with support for those who need it therefore commitments to ramping up supply are key in this context.”