Republic of Ireland -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
Republic of Ireland
HFH Ireland dedicated their first four homes in March 2006.
The housing shortage in Ireland is well-documented: Prices for all types of accommodation have risen dramatically in recent years, and housing is difficult to acquire at any price. The slowdown in the construction of social housing by the local authorities in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the rise in the cost of renting private accommodation and the increasing cost of purchasing a property have lead to an increased demand for social housing.
As house prices have risen, the numbers of people on waiting lists for social housing has risen accordingly and many people cannot access secure, affordable rental accommodation. At the end of March 2002, 48,413 households were in need of social housing, and a further 5,581 people were homeless. This shows an increase of 23.5% since 1999.
Refugees and immigrants are finding it particularly hard to get decent housing. As well as facing discrimination due to their poverty, they also face racism. Those people excluded from much of the rental market and added to an already burdened public housing waiting list are forced to take accommodation wherever they are accepted, the only alternative being to join the growing ranks of the homeless. This generally means that they have to pay outrageous rents for tiny flats in decaying buildings.
In Dublin it is not uncommon for landlords, wishing to make a quick profit out of the housing crisis, to fill dilapidated houses with beds and charge high rents. The condition of much of this type of rented accommodation is appalling, repairs are rarely carried out, appliances often don't work and the only thing that is done promptly is rent collection.
Tenants’ rights have improved slightly with the passing of the Private Residential Tenancies Act 2004, which provides for security of tenure, restriction of rent increases and the set up a dispute resolution service for landlords and tenants. However, of the 5,000 rented dwellings that were inspected for compliance with legal minimum standards, over half failed to meet the regulations.
Ten percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
Habitat in the Republic of Ireland
In the early part of 2001, the affiliation process was initiated with presentations to local churches, housing organisations and other key Dublin individuals for the purposes of gauging interest, raising awareness and harnessing support. By June of 2002 there was a core group assembled to head to Durban for the 2002 Jimmy Carter Work Project in order to experience the work of Habitat for Humanity firsthand.
Upon their return from Durban, the group formed a Steering Board and the affiliation process was accelerated. At the November 2002 HFH International Board of Directors meeting in Belfast, HFH Ireland was approved as a National Organisation.
HFH Ireland’s first project was in partnership with the Ballymun Regeneration Project, four (out of five units) were dedicated in March 2006 which also represented the 1,000th home built within the Europe & Central Asia area. These homes are also special as they utilize a new innovative financial model. In partnership with a local building society (financial institution), EBS, the company has agreed to provide HFH partner families with non-profit mortgages. This model allows HFH Ireland to free-up the capital invested in the first project and immediately utilize the cash for the next homes.
HFH Ireland continues to work closely with Dublin City Council and the regeneration initiatives in the area to identify, develop project opportunities which include a mix of new builds and renovations.
- HFH Ireland dedicated its first four new build homes (March 2006) which also represented the 1000th home built within the Europe and Central Asia area.
- Innovation financial model created in partnership with EBS Building Society, providing Irish Habitat homeowners with no-profit affordable mortgages and allowing HFH Ireland to immediately reinvest in new homes.
- The Irish Global Village program is extremely successful, with 15 teams sent in the first two years.
- HFH Ireland’s first build profiled on Irish television show, About the House.