National Development Plan for Social Housing must be Reformed to Meet Targets – Policy Institute Study

Posted on: 19 February 2002

Targets set in the National Development Plan for social housing cannot be met unless reform of the housing association development process takes place, according to the author of a study launched on Tuesday 19 February by Mr. Robert Molloy TD, Minister of State, with special responsibility for housing.

Author Simon Brooke argues that if the target is to be met, the housing association development process must be radically streamlined. His paper – Social Housing for the Future: Can Housing Associations Meet the Challenge? – proposes a transfer of responsibilities from local authorities to housing associations with substantial development programmes. This would be tied to a regulatory system that would protect tenants and public funds.

The study, which is the 8th Blue Paper in the series ‘Studies in Public Policy’, was undertaken while Simon Brooke was a Visiting Research Fellow at The Policy Institute and was jointly sponsored by the Combat Poverty Agency.

Housing provided by housing associations or local authorities is unpopular compared with owner-occupation. Simon Brooke argues that “to overcome this and make social housing a tenure of choice rather than the tenure of last resort, a package of measures needs to be implemented, including:

  • a lettings system that will encourage the creation of mixed communities;
  • legally enforceable security of tenure and a charter of rights;
  • an overhaul of the rental system; and
  • an equity tenant system that will enable low income tenants to have a financial stake in their homes”.

The series ‘Studies in Public Policy’, published by Trinity’s Policy Institute (known informally as the Blue Papers), aims to bridge the gap between the academic and professional policy communities and makes a real difference to public policy debate in Ireland.