Respond, the Approved Housing Body and community services provider, despite the Covid-19 restrictions, delivered 572 new homes and most importantly, commenced construction of another 907 homes on site in 2020. Respond, which has a building programme valued in excess of €1bn, says it delivers homes in 15 to 18 months from commencement on site at an average cost of less than €300,000 including site and all other costs, based on the homes in its current building programme. These are newly constructed lifetime homes delivered on fixed price contracts, adding to the national housing stock.
The organisation said that in the current housing crisis there is a critical need to significantly increase housing supply at speed and ensure good value for money for the State.
CEO at Respond Declan Dunne and the Chair of the Board John O’Connor spoke at the launch of the organisation’s 2020 Annual Report today (15.07.21). The report was launched by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD.
Commenting on the report, CEO Declan Dunne said: “The ESRI have recommended that the State redouble its investment in housing. Respond has the capacity to step up and play our part by very significantly increasing our social housing output at speed and ensuring excellent value for money if the State increases its investment in repayable loans through the Department of Housing and the Housing Finance Agency, as part of a multi-annual housing programme.”
“We have already delivered 1,294 homes since 2018. We currently have 1,484 homes in construction on site, with the potential to significantly increase our delivery based on our additional construction pipeline for commencement between the remainder of 2021 and the first quarter of 2023, which marks the end of our current strategic plan.”
John O’Connor, Chair of the Respond’s Board of Directors said:
“When the Board wrote the Strategic Plan 2018-2023, we set ourselves a target of delivering 2,500 new homes. Our board, earlier this year, increased that target to 3,500 and we now have the potential to significantly increase our housing delivery. Our current construction programme of work has a value of in excess of €1 billion.”
Delivering Cost Rental Homes
Together with its partners, Respond also continued work on Ireland’s first purpose built cost-rental housing scheme on Enniskerry Road in Dublin in 2020. The organisation expects to complete this development in Quarter 4 2021, and welcomed the Government’s decision to expand the cost-rental scheme as a new type of housing tenure. Respond welcome the approval by the Department of Housing for Respond to deliver a further three cost rental projects bringing the total to 143 cost rental homes.
Housing delivery model focused on adding new homes to national housing stock
Commenting, Declan Dunne said: “It is the policy of Respond to add to the national housing stock through the construction of new homes on a not-for-profit basis, rather than buying up existing homes. More than nine out of ten homes we delivered in 2020 are newly-built. We consistently deliver large-scale, quality housing developments in sustainable locations and have exceptionally strong in-house design expertise. Our multi-disciplinary development team includes architects, quantity surveyors, planners, technicians and more, all of whom add value to each and every construction project.
Supporting communities and improving lives
Throughout its history of almost 40 years, Respond has been focused on building communities, rather than just providing housing. It has developed services for all ages, from early childhood care and education, to family support services and daycare for older people to support them to remain living independently.
Respond also provides resettlement programmes for refugees from Syria in counties Kilkenny, Longford, Laois and Wicklow, and works in partnership with Laois County Council to provide support to migrants in the county.
Respond reported that in 2020:
Respond also provides six family homeless services in the form of emergency accommodation with 24/7 wraparound support for families. One of these services provides ‘own door’ apartment accommodation. To date, it has supported 533 families through these services. In 2020, Respond supported 173 families comprising 215 adults and 271 children. Of these, 115 families were supported to move on to permanent homes.