Ireland: CEB supports social housing with €150 million loan

30 September 2019

PARIS – The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) is taking further steps to support social housing in Ireland. The Administrative Council has approved a €150 million loan to the Housing Finance Agency (HFA), the public entity mandated with providing financing to Approved Housing Bodies and Local Authorities. 

The housing situation is difficult in Ireland for those on lower incomes, with rents rising sharply and access to the housing market for prospective owners-occupants remaining a major challenge. According to a recent nationwide assessment, there were about 72,000 households in the country which qualified for social housing support but were on a waiting list. 

The Irish government aims to deliver around 30,000 new units between 2019 and 2021 to meet the needs of households qualifying for social housing support. In addition to Local Authorities and the state, which provide income-based support for tenants and landlords in the private rental sector, Approved Housing Bodies have been identified by the government as a major future source of social housing. These are private not-for-profit legal entities developing and managing social housing schemes. 

The CEB’s €150 million loan to the HFA, which operates under the aegis of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, will contribute to government efforts undertaken in that respect. The funds, which will be used for the retrofitting of existing housing units and the construction of new, energy-efficient social housing, can be expected - based on previous experience - to create over 230,000 square meters of dwelling space, providing at least 8,000 low-income persons with a new home. 

CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel said: “Access to adequate, affordable and stable housing is a human right and vital for building inclusive societies. The CEB is pleased to be continuing its excellent cooperation with Housing Finance Agency to help provide thousands of persons with decent, energy-efficient homes over the next few years.” 

Since becoming a CEB member in 2004, Ireland has availed of financing in a range of sectors, including the creation and preservation of viable jobs, social housing for low-income families, and the development of public infrastructure. More than €600 million has been approved in loans to Ireland over the last couple of years alone. Ireland will be hosting the CEB’s 2020 Joint Meeting in Dublin.

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook positive, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable and Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.

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