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5 Years ago this month on the Cedar Lounge Revolution: Affordable and Social Housing… November 4, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in The Left.
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This might seem like a world away from current issues, but it’s not of course – indeed the idea of a ‘lottery’ for social and affordable housing speaks of just how skewed societal priorities, at least as expressed at state level, actually became.

Meanwhile, while looking this up I found this gem.

Posted by Karl Deeter on 30 July 2007

Affordable housing is a term commonly thought to have been synonymous with ‘social housing’. It is possible that this common misconception is partially responsible for many people not availing of the scheme. Affordable housing, a scheme first introduced in 1999, was designed to help first time buyers (FTBs) buy into private developments at less than the full market value of the property. Initially, land owned by local authorities was developed and the housing then sold on under the scheme. In 2000 and 2002, reforms were introduced under Part V of the Planning and Development Acts, which required that up to 20% of each new residential development must be set aside for social and affordable housing. However, developers often offer money in lieu or sites elsewhere instead of 20% of every development. This situation is less than ideal since building the houses themselves is costly and time consuming for local authorities and results in a backlog of people waiting for housing units to become available. There is also a lack of consistency between the various local authorities involved, with criteria regarding income thresholds varying in the different regions.

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1. LeftAtTheCross - November 4, 2011

There’s a great observation in Fintan O’Toole’s “Ship of Fools” where he points out that the logic of naming such housing “affordable” simply underlines the fact that the rest of the housing on the market is unaffordable, and furthermore that only people above a certain income qualify for the scheme in the first place, which leaves those who are even worse off well and truly out of the picture altogether, even though they are the people in most need of state-supported housing!

Of course it makes sense when you view it as state support for the mortgage industry, but as a social housing policy it’s nonsensical in that respect.

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WorldbyStorm - November 4, 2011

And even once in social housing you’re pushed towards the mortgage market at every turn. Want to do any stuff to a house, like an extension? Social housing providers such as DCC won’t assist at all. Which means effectively that a private mortgage must be taken, the house stops having a ‘social’ component and the private mortgage market extends. It’s precisely what you suggest, state support for the mortgage industry.

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