The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) say they are disappointed that Budget 2012 delivered difficult news for vulnerable households in need of social housing.
Non-profit housing associations will be affected by both capital and revenue funding cuts which make the challenge of delivering social housing for vulnerable groups more difficult. The capital funding budget has been reduced again by 23% as well as reduced provisions for leasing. The comprehensive spending review correctly identified that with the reduction in capital expenditure there would be an increase on current expenditure for leasing however this has been contradicted in the 2012 estimates.
Changes are also being made to the minimum contribution that single tenants make towards their rent. This will increase by €6 to €30 per week, while couples will have to pay a minimum of €35 per week. Mr Donal McManus Executive Director of the ICSH stated: “The cumulative impact of this with other social welfare changes will be significant and may have unintended consequences such as an increase in homelessness.”
Mr McManus, commented: “It is difficult to reconcile the significant reduction in capital expenditure of 23% for social housing provided by housing associations with a proposed reduction of €7million of current funding for leasing. To house vulnerable groups in social housing you either use capital or revenue funding and cutting both is a pincer movement’.
“The ICSH would have expected that there would have been prioritisation on reduced capital expenditure for social housing provided by housing associations. Housing associations have the ability to leverage in private loan finance which can stretch state capital expenditure. This was an opportunity missed which would have benefitted the taxpayer.”