The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) was formed in 1982 by housing and hostel organisations in Ireland to act as a national representative, promotional, information and advisory federation.

The ICSH now represents approximately 300 affiliated housing associations and other voluntary organisations involved in housing or hostel services, providing accommodation of over 19,000 homes to:

  • elderly persons
  • homeless and vulnerable persons
  • people with intellectual, physical, sensory and mental health disabilities
  • individuals and families on low incomes.

The ICSH also maintains strong links with other voluntary and statutory bodies who have an interest in social housing.

Housing associations now provide up to 30% of the total new social housing output each year. Since 1982 the membership of the ICSH has grown significantly and today the ICSH functions as the national representative federation for non-profit, voluntary and other social housing organisations with over 300 members. The number of new housing associations being formed has increased significantly in recent years and continues to grow.

Our representations to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) has led to the establishment of a Voluntary and Co-operative Housing Unit in that department which is dedicated to supporting and developing the voluntary housing sector as an important player in social housing in Ireland.

The ICSH represents its members through its active participation on key housing initiatives:


  • Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) National Housing Forum
  • Dublin Regional Homeless Executive Management Board
  • DECLG Voluntary and Co-Operative Housing Unit Working Group
  • Advisory Group on Unfinished Housing Developments
  • DECLG Cross Departmental Team on Sheltered Housing for Older People
  • Community & Voluntary Pillar of the social partners
  • National Advisory Group on Housing for People with Disabilities
  • National Homeless Consultative Committee
  • Fingal County Council Housing Strategic Policy Committee
  • Homeless Network Sub-Group on Homeless Sex Offenders
  • Community & Voluntary Pillar Communications Group
  • Community & Voluntary Pillar Indicators Group
  • Cecodhas - European Social Housing Liaison Committee
  • Feantsa - European Federation of National Organisations working with the homeless
  • Energy Poverty Coalition

At present, non-profit voluntary and co-operative housing associations all over Ireland deliver a flexible, high quality service, often with related housing services and the ICSH will continue to support this important sector of housing on behalf its members.