One of the country’s largest Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) and service providers has announced that it has 243 new social and cost rental homes under construction in Cork.
Respond made the announcement today as its annual report for 2021 was launched by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O'Brien, detailing the real impact the organisation has had in local communities across the country.
The AHB now owns and manages 678 homes across Cork, supporting more than 175 service users in social housing developments and cost rental schemes, family homeless services, early childhood care and education, and supports for elderly people and refugees.
Last year Respond was directly responsible for providing 16.4% of all new social and cost rental homes built by AHBs across the country, including Ireland’s first purpose-built cost rental scheme at Woodside, Enniskerry Road.
In Cork, the organisation delivered 39 new social and affordable homes last year.
Nationally, it delivered 624 new social and affordable homes in 2021 and commenced construction on 778 homes.
This increases the number of properties Respond owns or manages to over 6,500.
“Our Annual Report is a snapshot of the great work carried out by our teams on the ground supporting those who need it most in our communities,” Respond spokesperson, Niamh Randall, said.
“Central to this support is providing families with access to stable, long-term homes where they can put down roots as part of a local community.
“We are committed to continuing to help alleviate the massive need nationwide for social housing and supporting the Government’s Housing for All strategy.”
Ms Randall said Respond’s current building programme has a value of more than €1bn but that inflation is proving a challenge in delivering new homes.
“Respond’s current building programme has a value of more than €1bn.
“However, the current models for delivering social and cost rental homes are proving increasingly challenging in light of construction cost inflation, which has seen significant increases in the last 12 months, along with the recent increases in interest rates.
“We are working with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage on a welcome review of the structure and operation of the Capital Advanced Leasing Facility (CALF) funding scheme.
“The CALF scheme enables Approved Housing Bodies like Respond to deliver social homes.
“In addition, we welcome commitments to make changes to the Cost Rental Equity Loan Scheme as part of Budget 2023,” she said.
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O'Brien commended Respond’s work in supporting families across the country.
“The Government’s Housing for All strategy is focused on increasing the housing supply, in addition to providing a range of affordable purchase and rental measures.
“Respond’s work is critical in helping us towards achieving these goals,” he added.
In addition to its role as an AHB delivering housing developments and cost rental schemes, Respond provides several additional services to communities nationwide, including family homeless services, Early Learning and School Aged Care services, and services for older people, families and refugees.
Respond’s Annual Report states that 92 families were supported through its Refugee Resettlement programme which included orientation to Irish society, psychotherapy and counselling, and employment and financial supports.
In addition, Respond’s early learning and school-aged care services supported 483 children.
Another key finding was that the AHB provided emergency accommodation, with 24/7 support, for 207 families who became homeless.
Ms Randall said that Respond is extremely proud of their work in not just building homes but supporting communities around them.
The Respond report can be viewed here.