24 May 2022

Laois Offaly TD asks how affordability worsened while housing bodies got half a billion in 2021

Laois Offaly TD asks how affordability worsened while housing bodies got half a billion in 2021

A Laois Offaly TD is questioning how 495 approved housing bodies received half a billion euro last year and affordability seems to be getting worse. 

Deputy Carol Nolan said one Approved Housing Body(AHB) in Laois Offaly received public funding in the region of €245 million from 2016-2021.

The Independent TD  is set to call on the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, to request an immediate value-for-money review on the approximately 495 Approved Housing Bodies (AHB’s) registered with his Department.

She was speaking ahead of a Dáil private members motion on affordable housing. The motion calls on Government to dramatically increase direct capital investment in the delivery by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies of genuinely affordable homes:

“This is an issue that I have been examining for some time, particularly after I became aware following a series of parliamentary questions, that a single AHB operating in my own constituency had received public funding in the region of €245 million from 2016-2021,” Deputy Nolan said.

“I was also made aware that there are 495 Approved Housing Bodies registered with the Department of Housing and we know that Government provided over half a billion in funding to AHB’s just last year alone,” she remarked. 

“How can we have 495 Approved Housing Bodies in receipt of billions in public funding and still have a housing and affordability emergency that is getting progressively worse? Of course, I accept that very many AHB’s do fantastic work and without them many people would still be without a home. That is not in question. What I am questioning however is the need for sheer volume of such bodies,” she remarked. 

Deputy Nolan said “I do not want to draw exact parallels, but it strikes me that we have a similar issue with respect to the tens of thousands of registered NGO’s in this state. There has be a level of duplication and bureaucratic inefficiency when you get to that level that is simply wasteful and unnecessary.”   

“I understand that a new regulatory regime for AHBs is now in place and that the Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority will seek to encourage and facilitate better governance, administration and management, including corporate governance and financial management, of the AHB sector,” she said. 

It remains to be seen however whether the Authority will request a much more streamlined sector, she added. 

“My core concern is that we use the resources we have to the best possible effect, which in this instance is the ability of ordinary people to buy homes that are genuinely affordable,” Deputy Nolan concluded.

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