Respond, a leading Approved Housing Body and service provider, reported today that they currently have 1,288 homes in construction around the country. The organisation said they increased their number of social homes to 4,056 in 2019; 9,480 tenants live in these homes, a 9% increase on 2018. The figures were released at the launch of the Respond Annual Report 2019. The annual report was launched by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, T.D.
Niamh Randall, Head of Advocacy and Communications with Respond said: “We in Respond are working hard to build and deliver as many homes as we can for families and individuals in housing need, alongside our statutory partners. There are 1,288 in construction and onsite today and we expect this number to increase before year end. Our emphasis remains on new builds, adding to the overall housing stock. While 2020 is a year like no other, we remain confident that we will meet our target of increasing the number of homes we deliver.
“The impact of COVID-19 has been felt most severely by those who were already vulnerable, people without secure homes, older people and people with pre-existing health conditions. Having learned from the last recession, we recommend the State adopt a counter-cyclical investment approach, increasing investment in social and affordable housing in 2021. This will support the economy to recover quickly and allow for the continued provision of housing to those who urgently need it. Never has it been more important to have a secure home.”
During 2019, Respond increased the total number of homes or units the organisation own and/or manage to 5,055 with 4,056 of these being Respond Social Housing Tenancies.
Niamh Randall continued: “Building homes so people have the security they need to put down roots within a thriving community is an important part of what we do. However, the journey does not stop once the homes are built; it continues when we hand over the keys to our tenants and they embark upon this new chapter in their new homes. We also manage some homes on behalf of third parties e.g. ICare and units in group homes etc. The experience of those who live in each home and each social housing estate is central to Respond’s work; this means working to improve not just the quality of the homes but also the quality of life for the people who live there. Today, we are supporting 10,378 tenants in 4, 520 homes all around Ireland.”
Family Homeless Services
Respond provides six family homeless services with temporary emergency accommodation and 24/7 wraparound support. Last year Respond’s Family Homeless Services worked with 580 people. This is made up of 183 families with 234 adults with 346 children. Last year:
- 183 families were supported by Respond’s Family Homeless Services, comprising of 234 adults and 346 Children
- Of the children, over half (184) were under the age of five and 81% were under ten years of age (276)
- Respond’s Family Homeless Service worked with 25 pregnant women and nine women with new-born babies who came straight from hospital to Respond’s Services
- The average length of stay in Respond’s Family Homeless Service last year was 7 months
- 79 families were supported to move into homes of their own
- Respond worked with 401 families since late 2016
Commenting on Respond’s Family Homeless Services, Niamh Randall said: “We know from experience the knock-on effect that the lack of housing has on quality of life, employment and education, and overall health and wellbeing. The number of families and children who are homeless remains far too high. To address this, we opened our sixth homeless service in Dublin in 2019. This is an ‘own door’ apartment service, meaning each family has their own private apartment space where Respond provides 24/7 support for up to 23 families at any time. This is what the families we work with want, need and deserve while they wait for a home of their own. The solution to homelessness is access to secure and affordable homes with support for those who need it therefore commitments to ramping up supply are key in this context.”
Niamh Randall concluded: “We would like to thank all of our partners which include Local Authorities, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the Housing Agency, the Housing Finance Agency, the Dublin Regional Homelessness Executive, and the Health Services Executive for their support this year and every year. We reiterate our firm commitment to playing our part building homes throughout the country and providing services and support to families and individuals.”
Respond also provides Day-Care Services for Older people, Refugee Resettlement Services, Early Childhood Care and Education, and Family Support services.