ICSH Calls for a Social Housing Focused Budget

Wednesday, 27th September 2017
ICSH Calls for a Social Housing Focused Budget
- National conference on social housing taking place in Limerick today and tomorrow -

Social housing spend must be Ireland’s number one priority and no other measures in Budget 2018 can be allowed to derail this. That’s according to Dr. Donal McManus, CEO of the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH),speaking at their national social housing conference in Limerick today (27.09.2018).
At the conference, Dr. McManus outlined a three-point plan for increased delivery, calling for a number of policy changes to increase social housing output to be included in the Budget, including:
A programme of public land transfer to housing associations to increase the development pipeline. Where there is insufficient land in public ownership, local authorities should impose compulsory purchase orders on vacant sites;
The development of framework building agreements to drive down construction costs by up to 25 per cent;
The introduction of a new affordable housing scheme whereby housing associations would deliver affordable rental options in mixed-income developments.
“Driving down construction costs is vital to expanded delivery of social housing,” said Dr. McManus. “Ireland should follow the example of Sweden, where an innovative procurement model has led to a 25 per cent reduction in costs for social housing. 
“Faced with soaring construction costs and affordability problems similar to Ireland, the Swedish Association of Public Housing Companies developed a new approach to procurement that set the price up-front and invited construction companies to compete for volume building contracts.  The end-result was a reduction of 25 per cent in construction costs.  What has been achieved in Sweden can serve as a blueprint for future social housing development here.”
Commenting on the role of housing associations, Dr. McManus said: “Today, we’re bringing together our 270 member organisations from the four corners of the country. These organisations are embedded in their communities, know the landscape, and are the lynchpin for social housing delivery over the coming years. The housing association sector is building multi-unit housing – with an increasing focus on apartment developments – in rural, regional hub and urban settings and we can scale up significantly with access to public lands”.
Guest Speakers
The conference was officially opened today by Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.  Speakers on the programme for the two-day event include:
  • Willem Adema, Senior Economist, OECD;
  • Eva Bauer, (GBW) Economist, Austrian Federation of Limited Profit Housing Associations; and
  • Jonas Högset, Head of New Construction, SABO, the Swedish Association of Public Housing Companies.
More than 300 delegates are attending the Limerick conference, which supported by Gas Networks Ireland, include representatives of non-profit housing associations, local authority officials, policymakers and politicians. 
The full programme for the conference is available at: https://www.icsh.ie/sites/default/files/attach/publication/1238/icsh-nat...

Notes to Editors:  
About the ICSH

  • The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) is the national federation for non-profit housing associations, representing approximately 270 members that provide social housing.  The sector manages over 32,000 homes for families on a low income, older people, people with disabilities and homeless households. 
  • Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) – also known as housing associations – are non-profit organisations that provide and manage good-quality housing at affordable rents for households in housing need. 
  • Further information is available at www.icsh.ie, or by following the ICSH on Twitter, @icsh_ie.
  • The hashtag for the 2017 National Social Housing Conference is #socialhousing17.    
Wednesday, 27 September, 2017