Social Dividend From Nama Properties On Track For 2013

Minister for Housing Jan O’Sullivan, TD, stated today (31st January 2013) that she expected a significant increase in the number of NAMA properties selected and delivered for social housing in 2013.  NAMA has been working in partnership with the Department to identify properties that may be suitable for social housing.

Minister O’Sullivan was speaking at Scotch Hall in Drogheda where she visited families who have moved into properties provided as a result of this engagement with NAMA.  The 15 properties in Drogheda are owned and managed by Túath Housing Association.  To date, Túath has acquired a total of 68 properties for social housing through this process.  Properties can be made available through leasing or purchase arrangements.

“The Government is committed to securing social housing from the NAMA portfolio.  In the past 12 months Minister Hogan and I have worked closely with all parties, including the Housing Agency, local authorities, the Approved Housing Bodies and NAMA, to overcome the legal and other obstacles that were impeding the availability of suitable properties for social housing.  That work is now complete and I expect a significant increase in the number of properties that will become available in 2013.”

Among the important initiatives finalised in 2012 which will make a significant impact this year were:

–         The establishment by NAMA of a special purpose vehicle to take ownership of properties where there is an established demand – thereby enabling the direct negotiation of leases with approved housing bodies.

–         Agreement between NAMA and Approved Housing Bodies of a framework for leases that can apply in the vast majority of cases.

–         The announcement in Budget 2013 by Minister Howlin of €10m in funding which will drive the process in the coming year.

According to Minister O’Sullivan, “These initiatives will go a long way to addressing the roadblocks that have delayed the availability and take-up of significant numbers of properties to date.  NAMA has put forward a significant number of properties, but we need to streamline the process whereby suitable properties are selected, the transfer to social use takes place and families are provided with quality housing.

“There is now a solid pipeline of properties at various stages of negotiation and I expect the new framework for delivery will see a significant number of these completed and available for social housing in 2013.

The Minister also announced that updates on the rate of transfer of properties will now be published on the Housing Agency website every quarter. “This is an important development that will provide people with clear and transparent information on the progress achieved in 2013.”

Brendan McDonagh, NAMA CEO commented, “NAMA is committed to delivering as many social housing units as is feasible and we have worked assiduously with the two Ministers and our partners in the Department of the Environment and Housing Agency to resolve delivery constraints that have been in place up until now.  Significant progress was made in the second half of 2012 including the establishment by NAMA of a Special Purpose Vehicle and substantial agreement on standardised lease terms.”

“This is the result of the positive engagement between those involved in the process, and it will facilitate the selection of properties and their delivery for social housing under this initiative.  Túath’s example shows what can be achieved and NAMA looks forward to continued strong engagement with Túath and with other approved housing bodies to achieve our shared objective of providing houses for those in need.”

Marian Jennings, Túath’s Chairwoman stated, ’The Association acquired 66 homes for social housing in six developments controlled by NAMA in 2012.  It highlights the important work of the DOECLG, the Housing Agency, Local Authorities and Housing Associations with NAMA to bring empty properties back into use for much needed social housing.  For instance the role of Drogheda Borough Council in facilitating the purchase of properties at Scotch Hall was a key element of the project’s success.  The social dividend arising from such partnership is clear.  We will, with the continued support of the State and local authority partners, continue to work to change housing for the better for people, communities and places.”