Communities urged to ‘embrace new social housing’

Communities urged to ‘embrace new social housing’
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, with Respond CEO Declan Dunne, launching Respond’s annual report. Picture: Maxwells Dublin

Respond, one of the country’s longstanding approved housing bodies (AHBs), has asked communities to support new social housing and homeless services in their area in the midst of the current crisis.

Launching its annual report for 2017, Respond said it currently owns and manages 4,329 homes or apartments accommodating 8,717 people throughout Ireland and aims to provide at least 2,500 new social homes over the next five years at an estimated total capital outlay of €756m.

It has 3,225 units in the development pipeline and also established three new ‘family hubs’. Of the total number of 5,639 properties built by Respond, 920 are in Dublin, 604 are in Waterford, and 544 are in Cork.

According to the report, Respond also upgraded 1,622 homes at a total investment of €20m.

Just last Tuesday, the Mayor of Cork County, Patrick Gerard Murphy, turned the sod on a new residential development by Respond which includes 46 homes for mixed tenure and older people and one communal building at Duntahane, Fermoy, Co Cork.

At the launch of the report, meanwhile, Respond’s chief executive Declan Dunne said: “Our core mission at this time is to help alleviate the housing and homelessness crisis Ireland currently faces by providing real on-the-ground solutions. Our long-term aim is to provide lifetime social and affordable homes to a far greater proportion of the population, bringing Ireland more into line with our European neighbours where people from all walks of life live in housing association developments side by side.

“We will continue to build new homes and to build on our own stated ambitions. I would ask communities across Ireland to embrace new social housing or homeless services when they are announced for their area. It is up to every one of us, each community and parish to play our part in building the homes and communities we want for all our children.

“Communities should know that they have nothing to fear and everything to gain when they welcome new residents to their area. We are all — Government, local authority, Approved Housing Body, residents’ committee — responsible for delivering our part of the response and we will only truly solve this crisis if we view it as one that affects all of us.”

The report included details of the family hubs operated by Respond, such as the High Park facility in Drumcondra in Dublin which has 26 families and 53 occupants, including 26 children aged five and below. At that hub, Respond is piloting an outreach programme for families who move on from the facility, and which will be reviewed next January.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said local authorities and AHBs will build 6,500 new social homes next year and added: “While the numbers are important, it’s also important to remember that behind every number is a family.”

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