Nama has identified more than 4,000 houses under its control which it says are suitable for social housing - 2,000 of which could be ready over the next three years.However, the numbers have been describes as “too small” by the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH), which is holding a conference in Wexford today. Some 250 delegates heard that while the offer of Nama houses was welcome, the numbers of suitable properties was limited compared to the demand for social housing, which it estimated was in the order of 96,000 homes.
Calling for a stimulus package to build new social houses, Donal McManus, executive director of the ICSH, said such a package would have a major impact on the job market, with every 10 jobs created in the building sector sustaining a further seven elsewhere in the economy. Mr McManus said investing money saved from the IBRC promissory note in a major social housing construction programme could have “the double benefit of creating jobs and taking people off local authority waiting lists”.
He said measures such as sourcing properties through Nama and leasing from private owners have had only a very limited impact in addressing the housing needs of families and vulnerable groups such as older people, the homeless and people with disabilities. Felix McKenna, senior asset manager with Nama, agreed the agency had a “finite” amount of suitable houses. He said it was inevitable there were works needed to complete some of the estates around the country and it would not be good planning to devote entire estates to social housing.