5 Strategies to Solve Ireland’s Housing Crisis

June 30, 2021
Makayla Santino

1. ‘Tenure Blind’ Homes
The idea of developing ‘tenure blind’ homes has been proposed by Fiona Cormican, the Business Director at Clúid. Cormican calls for a system of definitive mixed housing that is accompanied by an income-based rent model to create a sustainable housing sector. In order to attain this system, Cormican proposes that we must think big. To do so, we need to recognize that there are many people in need of housing support.She argues that existing European models have already been proven successful at creating mixed tenure communities. By eliminating the class system of housing, the particular needs of the prospective homeowners are met sustainably. Mixed tenure housing allows for greater choice within communities because there are options to rent, buy, or utilize social housing.
Mono tenure patterns establish and reinforce stigmas of social housing. By adopting a mixed model, stigmas will disappear and stronger communities can be built. With proper investment in this system, a more sustainable housing system can be attained.

2. 100,000 Affordable, High-Quality Homes
Cian O’Callaghan proposed for 100,000 homes to be built by using state-owned land and economical loans. He argued that definitive action must be taken by the government to resolve the housing crisis.
O’Callaghan points out that most experts have stated that the country will need to build 35,000 homes each year in order to support the demand. As of last year, only 20,000 new homes were built, throwing off the balance of supply and demand. This then led to skyrocketing property prices across the country.
It is important to note that these new houses will need to be truly affordable to the average public, which can be done by decreasing production costs. As mentioned above, this can occur by using state-owned land. Additionally, Housing Cooperatives and Approved Housing Bodies can be utilized to reduce high profit margins sought by revenue driven developers.

3. Rent to Buy
Rebecca Moynihan, Senator and Labour spokesperson for housing, has stated that there has not been proper discussion of a Rent to Buy scheme that would be funded by the government. This sort of program would target individuals who are currently renting property and having a hard time saving up for a deposit. The scheme would allow these renters to build equity for their home before they decide to buy.
She highlights the UK as an example of this type of program. There, the government distributes cheap loans to housing associations to help those in need get closer to owning a home. Additionally, she discusses that the state would be able to borrow at significantly low interest rates, much lower than private builders, which could naturally reduce operating costs.

4. Modify People, Policy, and Practice
Dr. Lorcan Sirr, Senior Lecturer at Technological University Dublin, offers three specific suggestions targeting the people, policy, and practice. Regarding the people, policymakers are much too close to the industry and not open to innovative solutions that are proposed to them. Almost every new policy has come from lobbyists, resulting in little thought given to the impact one policy may have on other departments. This trend leads to different policies working against one another between different departments.
For policy, impact assessment must occur before and after policies are implemented to identify faulty policies. Lastly, the sector can be more creative in providing efficient solutions for consumers’ needs. He concludes that there needs to be more ingenuity and sovereignty in policy making.

5. Community-Led Housing
Tom O’Donnell, architect and co-director of Self Organised Architecture (SOA) has proposed that communities themselves should be in charge rather than developers and state agencies. Currently, there is considerable focus given to top-down plans that portray homebuyers as passive and minimal agents in the system.
O’Donnell points to a new government policy statement, Housing for All, as a chance to fix these norms and acknowledge that Community-Led Housing (CLH) may be an effective solution that will correct problems in the housing market. This system would work by the government assisting communities in creating homes that address their specific needs. Due to the fact that CLH is essentially led by residents themselves, innovative ideas that allow for diversity and pinpoint specific problem areas can come to be.

 

 

Reference:

Thomas, Cónal. “Five Big Ideas to Help Solve Ireland’s Housing Crisis (Including ‘Tenure Blind’ Homes and Community-Led Development).” thejournal.ie, 29 June 2021, https://www.thejournal.ie/big-ideas-housing-5470813-Jun2021/.

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