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- PublicationHousing(Institute of Public Administration, 2003-08)This chapter aims to map the main trends in the development of the local authority housing function since the beginning of local government involvement in this area in the mid 1800s, until modern times. This sweeping review focuses in particular on the contribution which local authorities have made to addressing housing need and on the principal items of legislation, relevant to the local authority housing service, which were introduced in this period. In the second part of the chapter, a more in-depth examination of the recent development of the housing function is presented. This concentrates mainly on the changing focus of the service over the last two decades, which was highlighted a bove. On the basis of this discussion, the conclusions to the chapter will examine whether local authorities will rise to meet the challenges associated with these new strategic functions.
- PublicationRegular national report on housing developments in European countries : synthesis reportHousing is not an EU competency, but housing policies, arrangements for their implementation and housing markets are key concerns of policy makers in European countries, because their effective operation has significant implications for the quality of life enjoyed by households, for the sustainability of communities and for economic development. Therefore, since 1989 the housing ministers of European Union (EU) member States have met regularly to discuss issues related to housing policy and sustainable development. In order to inform these discussions, in 2000 and 2001 a synthesis report summarising housing developments in European countries was prepared by France and Belgium, which held the presidency of the Council of the EU during these years. To mark its presidency of the EU, during the first half of 2004, Ireland has prepared this updated report on recent housing developments across Europe. This report was presented to a meeting of housing focal points representative of housing ministries from European countries, held in the Netherlands in November 2004.
- PublicationTraveller Accommodation Expert Review: Prepared by an independent Expert Group on behalf of the Minister of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local GovernmentThis report sets out an integrated set of recommendations intended to improve the effectiveness of the arrangements for providing accommodation for members of the Traveller community, which were established by the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act, 1998. These recommendations address four key themes: - delivery reflecting need, - planning, - capacity and resources and, - governance. The review concludes that the arrangements established by the 1998 Act have significant strengths and have enabled the delivery of significant amounts of accommodation for Travellers, but they have failed to meet the full scale of accommodation need among this community. This is evidenced by the extremely high rate of Traveller homelessness, the increase in numbers of Traveller households sharing accommodation and living in overcrowded conditions, and the uneven record of delivery of Traveller-specific accommodation among local authorities and also approved housing bodies. Therefore, it is time to overhaul the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act, 1998 and other relevant legislation and policies which impact on accommodation provision for Travellers.
- PublicationHousing Policy Review, 1990-2002This review documents the principal changes to the system of housing provision and to housing policy in Ireland which have taken place since 1990, as well as recent social and economic developments pertaining to housing, and examines the range of market and nonmarket housing options currently available. It is envisaged that this information will be of interest to students of disciplines related to housing such as social policy, public administration, regional and urban planning and architecture, to those who work in the housing field and the members of the general public who have an interest in this area. The latest national partnership agreement, Sustaining Progress, commits government to reviewing and reforming several aspects of housing policy and provision in this country, including programmes designed to assist low-income groups, and this document will provide useful background information for this review. By documenting the changes to housing policy and housing provision that have taken place since 1990, it will highlight anomalies or omissions in housing policy and provision, together with the most significant housing related challenges which will face the country in the coming years. It is envisaged that this information will enable policy makers to consider how these issues can be most effectively addressed. The opening chapter of the review highlights several aspects of the system of housing provision in Ireland that are distinctive in the wider European Union (EU) context. For instance the proportion of Irish people who own their own homes is much higher than the EU average, while the proportion who rent is relatively low. Furthermore, in contrast to many other EU member states, most social housing for rent to low-income households in this country is provided by local authorities, rather than non-governmental agencies. The number of dwellings per 1,000 inhabitants in this country is the lowest in the EU, although the Irish housing stock is comparatively young, and it is also distinguished by the high number of standard houses, in contrast to many other EU member states where a large proportion of the housing stock is made up of apartments. Chapter Two reveals that the last decade is distinguished by dramatic changes in the housing system. The years since 1995 have seen marked increases in private house prices (particularly in Dublin), in private sector rents and in social housing need. These trends are related to both economic factors including falling unemployment and rising disposable incomes and demographic factors such as population growth, together with a rise in the number of independent households and falling population size. In response to increased demand, house building rates have increased significantly in recent years, to the extent that housing output in Ireland was proportionately the highest in the EU during 1999, 2000 and 2001. However, private housing output is not concentrated in the parts of the country where demand is highest, while social housing output remains low in historic terms. The second part of the chapter assesses the impact that these changes have had for housing affordability and highlights affordability difficulties in the private rented sector and among lower income households seeking to gain access to the owner occupied sector. Chapter Three sketches the impact which this changing environment had in terms of the evolution of housing policy. The housing policy statements produced by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DoEHLG) in the early years of the decade are mainly concerned with ensuring an adequate supply of housing for the lower income sections of the population, principally by means of providing social rented accommodation. As a result of the high price inflation in the housing market in the late 1990s, the focus had necessarily broadened to the housing needs of the general population and a number of significant interventions in the owner occupied and private rented sectors were introduced. The broadening of the housing policy agenda over this period, together with the increased political priority which it was afforded, also 10 Housing Policy Review 1990-2002 had the effect of moving housing and accommodation issues to the core of the national policy agenda and of accelerating the pace of policy development in this area. Since 1996 eight major policy statements on housing have been issued by the DoEHLG. Furthermore, in contrast to the early 1990s when housing policy development was confined mainly to policy statements from this Department, by the late 1990s it had become a key consideration in most national social and economic policy statements including: the National Development Plan (NDP) for 2000 to 2006, the national agreement negotiated between government and the social partners in 2000 and 2003, and the revised National Anti-Poverty Strategy (NAPS) published in 2002. Chapters Four to Seven provide further details of the policy initiatives introduced since 1990 pertinent to the owner occupied, private rented and social rented housing tenures and to households with special housing and accommodation needs. In addition to describing the key features of these initiatives, these chapters also examine the available evidence on their impact on the ground. The key points raised in these chapters are as follows: Chapter Four reveals that the owner occupied sector has seen the greatest number of new initiatives introduced during the period under examination, as four new supports for low-income home buyers have been established since 1990, along with numerous reforms to the more longstanding schemes which target households of this type such as the local authority housing loans and the tenant purchase scheme. The number and variety of the supports now available for low-income home buyers should help to address the full spectrum of need created by the developments in the housing market examined in Chapter Two. However, these complex arrangements obviously raise administrative challenges and there is some variation in the level of take-up of the individual schemes and also over time and geographically. Chapter Five which examines private renting suggests that the longstanding decline of this tenure may have been reversed in recent years. In addition, this sector has recently been the subject of extensive intervention by government on the recommendation of the Commission on the Private Rented Residential Sector that reported in 2000.Many of these interventions are legislated for in the Residential Tenancies Bill which was being considered by the Oireachtas at the time of writing. It is premature to assess the impact of these developments at this stage.However, they have the potential to improve the rights of tenancy of tenants in this sector, address affordability issues and improve housing standards; their achievements in this regard should be kept under review. Chapter Six examines the policy developments in the social rented sector over the last decade. It highlights three principal categories of reform. Firstly, levels of social housing output have been increased significantly since the mid-1990s to meet growing social housing need. Secondly, efforts have been made to diversify the sources of provision, as in addition to increased building of social housing by local authorities, output by voluntary and co-operative bodies has also increased. Thirdly, the social housing policy agenda broadened beyond the traditional focus on matching the quantity of dwellings provided with housing need, and qualitative issues such as the design, planning, management and regeneration of the social rented stock were afforded more attention. These reforms raise a number of challenges for policy makers and practitioners in the housing field. These include: the financing of social housing output; the governance of more complex arrangements for social housing provision and the establishment of systems to assess the success of measures to promote improved social housing design and management. Chapter Seven examines the various supports that are available to the sections of the population with special housing and accommodation needs, e.g. members of the Traveller community, homeless people, older people, people with a disability and asylum seekers and refugees. It reveals that some of these provisions have had a mixed impact in practice and suggests that they merit further examination in order to identify appropriate reforms.
- PublicationA Qualitative Study of LGBTQI+ Youth Homelessness in IrelandThis report on the experiences of LGBTQI+ young people who find themselves without a home emerges from an exploration of the causes and solutions to youth homelessness which Focus Ireland has been engaged with for over 30 years. An important dimension of that work has been our engagement with researchers and activists across the world. Around 5 years ago, during a seminar at which we had invited Professor Steven Gaetz and Melanie Redman to talk to us about the Canadian ‘A Way Home’ youth homeless strategy, one of the slides included a statement that – ‘if you are not looking at LGBTQ homelessness you are not dealing with the causes of youth homelessness.’ An intern with the Advocacy team asked what was known about the issue in Ireland. This report can be traced back to the fact that the answer to that question was ‘nothing at all’.
- PublicationSocial housing's role in the Irish property boom and bustThis paper argues, however, that the economic role of social housing has been fundamentally transformed over recent decades. The nature of this transformation plays an important part in understanding Ireland’s property boom and bust, and in understanding the nature of the current crisis in t he social housing sector. As elsewhere, the crisis commenced following the bursting of a pr operty bubble in 2007, but worsened considerably with the global financial cri sis the following year and resulted in the Irish government nationalising almost the entir e banking system in 2009 and negotiating an emergency loan from the European Uni on and the IMF to fund public spending and the bank bailout in 2010.
- PublicationCombating social disadvantage in social housing estates: the policy implications of a ten year follow up studyThis paper presents a policy-focused report on the research project 'Progress and Problems in Social Housing Estates: A ten-year follow-up study'. The project was carried out between late 2007 and early 2009 in seven local authority housing estates in Ireland and took the form of a follow-up to a study of the same estates which had been carried out in the period 1997-1999. The seven estates examined in the study are: Fatima Mansions and Finglas South in Dublin City; Fettercairn, Tallaght, in South County Dublin; Deanrock estate in Togher, Cork City; Moyross in Limerick City; Muirhevnamor in Dundalk and Cranmore in Sligo town
- PublicationAsset Price Keynesianism, Regional Imbalances and the Irish and Spanish Housing Booms and BustsIreland and Spain were amongst the European countries which experienced the most severe economic and fiscal problems following the global financial crisis. The proximate causes of these economic crashes have been explored in-depth by researchers and governments, who have highlighted strong parallels between the policy, regulatory and economic factors which underpinned them. In both countries residential property price inflation increased dramatically from the late 1990s driven by increased availability of cheap mortgages but unusually was accompanied by marked growth in new house building. Thus, following the international credit crunch in 2008, a simultaneous contraction in both mortgage credit and house building occurred in Ireland and Spain, which precipitated a marked knock-on decline in the employment, tax revenue and consumer spending which the housing boom had underpinned. This paper argues that the Irish and Spanish housing booms and busts are similar not just in terms of scale and proximate causes but also in terms of fundamental causes. In both countries the housing boom/bust cycle was underpinned by a suite of macroeconomic policies which aimed to use asset price growth to underpin rising demand and economic growth, or in other words achieve what Robert Brenner (2006) terms 'asset-price Keynesianism'. This approach was particularly attractive to the Irish and Spanish governments because it enabled them to resolve historical legacies of industrial underdevelopment and regional imbalances by generating construction jobs in underdeveloped areas. As a result of the latter, local/regional governments in both countries played a key role in facilitating the implementation of this policy.
- PublicationYoung People's Trajectories through Irish Housing Booms and Busts: headship, housing and labour market access among the under 30s since the late 1960sThe economic, social and demographic history of the Republic of Ireland since World War II is distinctive in western European terms. While many of her neighbours experienced strong economic and population growth during the post war decades, resulting in unprecedented prosperity for the generation born during the post war baby boom, Ireland experienced economic stagnation and population decline during the 1950s, punctuated by a period of growth in the 1960s and early 1970s, until the traditional pattern of economic stagnation was reinstated in the 1980s (Kennedy et al 1988). This longstanding pattern of economic under performance changed in the mid 1990s with the advent of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ economic boom and during the decade which followed Ireland’s economic growth caught up with and then surpassed the western European average, employment and household disposable income grew radically and the Irish population expanded by 20 per cent (Clinch et al 2002).
- PublicationThe Future of Council Housing An analysis of the financial sustainability of local authority provided social housingFor most of the period since social housing was first built in Ireland in the late 19th Century, local authorities have been its main providers. Local authorities have provided 365,350 council houses and flats since then and these dwellings accounted for 22.2% of the total Irish housing stock in 2016. These dwellings have made a major contribution to providing affordable, good-quality and secure accommodation for low-income households, and also to improving the quality and increasing the size of the Irish housing stock. The last three decades have seen a significant reduction in the traditional role of council housing as the primary source of accommodation for low-income renters however. In 1994, council housing tenants accounted for 73.2% of the low-income renting households in receipt of government housing supports. By 2016, this had fallen to just 53%. In part, this development reflects the decline in council housing output following the sharp contraction in the funding available to this sector after the economic crisis commenced in the late 2000s. Total public funding for new council housing fell by 94% between 2008 and 2013. It also reflects longer term factors such the tradition of selling council housing to tenants which dates back to the 1930s. In addition since the 1980s governments have relied increasingly on other sources of housing for low-income households. These include: not-for-profit sector approved housing bodies (AHBs) and government subsidies for private rented housing such as Rent Supplement and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).