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Respond set to deliver 200 more homes than planned despite impact of Covid-19

The housing charity said it has more than 1,200 homes under construction.

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Respond say they are focused on new builds (Joe Giddens/PA)

Respond say they are focused on new builds (Joe Giddens/PA)

Respond say they are focused on new builds (Joe Giddens/PA)

Housing charity Respond is set to deliver 200 more homes than it had planned this year, despite the impact on construction caused by Covid-19.

The not-for-profit approved housing body called on the Government to increase its funding in Budget 2021.

Respond’s head of advocacy Niamh Randall said it had never been more important to have a secure home.

It has 1,288 homes in construction in 18 counties around the country.

More than 700 are due to be completed this year, 200 more than its target, and a further 500 are due to be completed next year.

Last year it built 357 homes.

The charity delivers social and affordable homes in partnership with local authorities and the Department of Housing.

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It also manages tenancies and provides early childhood care and education services, care for older people, refugee resettlement services and family support services, as well as homeless support services.

It released its annual report for 2019 on Wednesday, which showed that it managed 4,056 social housing tenancies last year, an 8% increase on the number in 2018.

While 2020 is a year like no other, we remain confident that we will meet our target of increasing the number of homes we deliverNiamh Randall, Respond

Since then that figure has increased to 4,500 and in total it has 10,378 tenants across the country.

“Our emphasis remains on new builds, adding to the overall housing stock,” Ms Randall said.

“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.”

She said the impact of Covid-19 had 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,” she said.

“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.”

Launching the report, Housing Minster Darragh O’Brien said a lot of things had changed in 2020 but the Government was committed to solving the housing crisis.

He said he had launched a €40 million voids programme in July to bring social units back to use.

“I’m pleased to tell you all… that 2,410 of those units are nearing completion,” he said.

“We’re going to hit target this year. They’re going to be reallocated and occupied this year.”


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