To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the status of the Re-Building Ireland commitment to establish a dedicated one-stop-shop within the Housing Agency to support AHBs; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Approved Housing Body (AHB) Services Unit was established in 2017 in accordance with Action 2.14 of Rebuilding Ireland.
This unit currently has four staff and provides assistance to my Department, AHBs and Local Authorities to support AHB led delivery.
One of the main areas of operation that has been incorporated into the AHB Services Unit is the assessment of AHB Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF)funding applications and reporting recommendations to my Department. As part of this service, staff in the Unit liaise closely with AHBs and my Department in relation to particular features or issues that arise with individual applications and also engage in pre-application discussions with AHBs on matters such as advice on the assessment process or where certain innovations are being considered and how these might be viewed.
The Unit also prepares Payment & Availability/CALF contract documentation on behalf of local authorities where requested to do so. This helps to streamline the process of project funding drawdown, mainly for the acquisition by AHBs of properties acquired by the Agency using the €70m acquisition fund and for properties leased by AHBs from NAMA’s special purpose vehicle. This service has been expanding to other projects to further enhance the coordination between local authorities and AHBs in this area.
An AHB forum with representatives from the AHBs, local authorities and my Department has been established and currently meets on a quarterly basis to review strategic issues of concern to the stakeholders for the delivery of housing and improving coordination between AHBs and local authorities.
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