Responding to the affordability challenge facing households is a core objective of housing policy in Ireland. The issue is also central to the Housing Agency’s vision to enable everyone to live in good quality, affordable homes in sustainable communities. However, delivering housing that is affordable to people with low-to-moderate levels of income has proved challenging, and it is widely acknowledged that new types of support are required.
Who qualifies for help? What form should the new housing supports take? How can public land be best utilised to improve access to good quality accommodation? Developing affordable housing policy requires these questions, among others, be comprehensively addressed. By gathering stakeholders familiar with the Irish housing sector and taking a fresh look at the type of schemes used in other jurisdictions, the event on 18 October contributed to ongoing efforts to further enhance the policy response to the housing affordability challenge.
This event followed on from a similar meeting on affordable housing held earlier this year. Looking at the reports on each event, it’s clear that there is a large degree of overlap in the policy solutions that emerged from the two sessions. Participants in both sessions came up with proposals that sought to address the high cost of land, that acknowledged the need to respond to the changing nature of housing demand, and that recognised the importance of fostering sustainable communities. It is notable how participants on 18 October reached consensus on the idea that affordable housing should be linked to household income, whereas in the earlier event each policy proposal was based on varying definitions of affordability. Reaching a common understand on fundamental aspects of the challenge at hand helps the development of coherent policy.