Fiona Cormican of Clúid Housing.
Clúid Housing, which provides 411 homes in Louth, has welcomed the €2.3 billion for the housing programme in 2019 but has said that a dedicated affordable rental scheme is desperately needed. This is different from the affordable purchase scheme announced in the budget.
Affordable rental (sometimes called cost rental) provides housing to the ‘squeezed middle’ – people whose incomes are above the eligibility level for social housing but who cannot afford to pay market rents. It has the capacity to make a significant contribution to a greater mix of tenures in Co Louth.
Yesterday Minister Donohoe announced that funding for the Serviced Sites Fund would be trebled over three years to €310 million up to 2021. This aims to provide up to 6,000 affordable purchase homes during this period.
Clúid’s New Business Director Fiona Cormican said: “Clúid welcomes the focus on housing in Budget 2019, and particularly the money being made available for affordable housing.
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“To have a sustainable tenure mix we need to address the needs of a wide range of people. We’d like to see more focus on affordable rental.
“A large sector of the market are the squeezed middle who don’t qualify for social housing and they’re squeezed out of the private market.
“These households are struggling to afford very high private rents, cannot access social housing and are limited in their ability to secure mortgages by the amount they are forced to spend on rent.”
Head of Policy for Clúid, Simon Brooke, said: “Where rent constitutes more than 30% of net household income, the rent is considered to be unaffordable, so affordable rental aims to provide high quality rental housing where rents are less than 30% of take-home pay.
“This was promised in the government’s housing plan Rebuilding Ireland, but up to now not a single affordable tenancy has been created. Together with other approved housing bodies we are working on developing a viable affordable rental scheme to make this a reality.”
Ms. Cormican added: “Currently Clúid has 411 homes in Louth and we are continually looking for new opportunities to develop further in the county and beyond. We want to partner with developers and local authorities to deliver 2,500 units nationwide over three years.”
Clúid Housing is the largest housing association in Ireland, delivering 6,500 high quality, affordable homes to people in housing need all over Ireland. Housing associations are independent, not-for-profit charities.