Ireland’s Housing Emergency - Time for a Game Changer
AuthorsTom Healy and Paul Goldrick-Kelly
Lack of access to affordable quality homes constitutes a significant crisis for workers, families and communities in the Republic of Ireland. Current Government plans appear to be insufficient to make a significant impact. Pressure and strain on individuals and families is a direct consequence of under-investment over many years as well as a failure on the part of a market-led and property developer-led model of housing to deliver enough houses to meet the demands of a growing population. We propose a carefully planned programme to construct 70,000 new homes in addition to the existing stock of normally occupied housing in the Republic of Ireland. A key part of this plan is the putting in place of a European Cost Rental Model (ECRM) on lines already outlined by the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) and referred to in a recent report of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness. The optimum solution, we propose, is the establishment of The Housing Company of Ireland which will draw on long-term borrowing combined with an equity injection from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and undertake or commission, on a commercial basis, a programme of planning, building, acquiring and renting of new homes. This investment will supplement and further strengthen that of the Local Authorities as well as the voluntary housing associations in the area of social housing. The figure, below, summarises some of the key features of the ECRM.