A home for all
On the occasion of the CEB’s annual Joint Meeting of the Governing Board and the Administrative Council held in Dublin, Ireland from 7-10 July, a delegation visited Broome Lodge, a housing project that received CEB financing through Ireland’s state-owned Housing Finance Agency (HFA).
Housing is a basic human need. However, the global financial crisis led to a tightening of the supply of housing finance in Ireland, which resulted in an increase in homelessness across the country.
To tackle the problem, Ireland’s government launched the ‘Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness’ which aimed to deliver 47,000 new social housing units by 2021. Ireland’s 500-plus approved housing bodies (AHBs) were tasked with contributing a third of these new homes.
The HFA provides attractive long-term fixed rate financing to local authorities and AHBs, which are not-for-profit organisations that provide affordable rental housing for people who can’t afford to buy or rent their own homes. In September 2019 the HFA received a €150 million loan from the CEB, enabling AHBs and local authorities to retrofit or build nearly 2,250 energy-efficient social housing units across the country.
As a result, some 7,525 people, mainly social welfare recipients, moved into new homes.
A capital schemeBroome Lodge in Cabra, Dublin was developed by Clúid Housing in partnership with Dublin City Council and is specifically designed for people over the age of 55. Clúid Housing is Ireland’s largest AHB. The Broome Lodge scheme is managed by Clann Housing, Clúid’s dedicated age-friendly housing body.
Clúid Housing CEO Brian O’Gorman said: “We know that by 2030, more than a fifth of Ireland’s population will be aged 65 or over. We also know that many of these people are living in insecure accommodation or housing that is unsuitable for their needs or life stage. Developments like Broome Lodge are an integral part of the suite of housing options needed to provide secure homes and vibrant communities as our society changes.”
Broome Lodge was constructed at a cost of €8 million, with each apartment costing, on average, €190,000 to build. Financing for the scheme came from the CEB via the HFA, and additional funds came from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.
Broome Lodge has 43 1- and 2-bedroom apartments which have been provided to people in Dublin with the greatest housing and support needs. The scheme is now home to 51 people, some of whom have experienced homelessness.
Quality of life for allThe scheme’s design follows Universal Design principles – in fact it was the first of Clann Housing schemes to follow these principles – which promote access and use regardless of a person’s age, ability or disability. This enables people to be more independent and to stay living in their homes for as long as possible. The design also means they tend to have less need for support services.
Aoife Flynn Kennedy, Head of Clann, said: “Housing schemes like Broome Lodge provide residents with much needed choice. The Universal Design principles allow residents to live independently and age in place – in their homes and communities. By providing a home that is suited to their needs and can be easily adapted as needs change our residents can stay in their homes longer and not be forced prematurely into care homes.”
The design includes various features to enhance residents’ quality of life, including:
- Accessible design throughout the building and outdoor spaces
- Communal areas, including a central landscaped courtyard, to promote social interaction and reduce isolation
- Assistive living technology, including a wheelchair and scooter charging room, to promote independence.
Broome Lodge was completed in 2017. Since then, residents have enjoyed getting to know each other at summer parties and social events and they have even supported each other to start learning new skills, such as sign language.
These sessions were spearheaded by Karen Dolan, a resident who is deaf. She says, “I love meeting my neighbours and baking scones for the coffee mornings we hold. I love when other residents use a bit of sign language to say hello to me. When my family visit, they always say they love my home. I do too, and I hope to stay here for a long time.”
Clann Housing itself runs awards and offers training to residents of its schemes, promoting strong communities and new opportunities for residents. In 2021 Broome Lodge won Best Neighbourhood at Clann Housing’s annual awards.
The HFA and the CEB
Since Ireland joined the CEB in 2004, the CEB has approved four loans to the HFA, amounting to a total of €425 million.
HFA is by far CEB’s largest borrower in Ireland, with loans focusing on social housing and, more recently, student accommodation.
Commenting on the Broome Lodge scheme, Philipp Voswinkel, the CEB’s Country Manager for Ireland, says, “the AHB model, combining charities with Government funding, has important lessons when looking across Europe to improve housing opportunities for low-income and vulnerable groups. It integrates extremely well with long-run fixed rate financing from CEB.”