Credit unions have the means to fund additional social housing provision - Ó Broin
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has said credit unions should be allowed to lend to Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) in order to facilitate additional social housing provision.
The Sinn Féin submission to the Central Bank on Potential Changes to the Investment Framework for Credit Unions articulates such a position.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“'Like many people I have been frustrated with the unwillingness of the Government and Central Bank to respond to Credit Union proposals on social housing. These proposals were made over two years ago and still no decision has been made.
“While I welcome the Central Bank public consultation on the matter, given the depth of the housing crisis, it is yet another example of the lack of urgency in the government’s response to acute housing need.
"Sinn Féin has long held the view that there is a natural fit between Credit Union lending and Approved Housing Body social housing provision. In our Alternative Budget for 2017 we recommended that funds from the Irish League of Credit Unions and other non-State sources should be utilised to provide real social housing units via AHBs.
“Our central bank submission yesterday stated that Sinn Féin is of the view that the larger AHB’s with the appropriate finance should be in a position to deliver an additional 2,000 to 4,000 real social housing units a year. This would make a substantial dent in the current deficit of social homes that the government is reluctant to start filling.
“The Irish League of Credit Unions has proposed that it has the capacity to provide €347m annually into an AHB loan for social housing. They propose to incrementally build up to a funding position of €1.042bn over the period of six years. Sinn Féin has lent its support to this proposal.
“In term of the funding mechanism, our submission states that this should be facilitated by the creation of a specific fund from which tier three AHBs can apply, on a rolling basis, for loan finance for the purchase, renovation and/or building of social housing.
“The proportion of funding provided by the credit union would either be on a100% basis or a 70% basis. In the case of the latter the Department of Housing would provide the remaining 30% through the existing AHB funding mechanisms already well established.
“Any idea or source that would add to the provision of real social housing must be seriously considered. Credit Unions have funding available they just need to be given the route and the support to do so.”