To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the status of the development of a special purpose vehicle by the Irish Council for Social Housing for the investment of funds in social housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Considerable work has been ongoing between the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH), a number of larger Tier 3 Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) and their financial advisors on the development of a vehicle for delivering private financing for AHBs providing social housing in line with ambitions set out in the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness.
The ICSH work is being undertaken in three phases, the first two of which have been completed, those being the phases designed to test the market interest in investing in social housing and the appetite among AHBs for private finance. While the ICSH had hoped to have completed the final phase of the work by now, focused on the structuring of special purpose vehicles, this important work remains ongoing.
I understand that one of the issues which has given rise to the delay in concluding the work is the need to take account of other private finance arrangements/vehicles that certain AHBs have put in place in parallel. The decision by Eurostat to reclassify AHBs has also influenced the progression of this final phase of work. Alongside this project, three individual AHBs have been successful in accessing private finance from financial institutions to deliver new social housing, with each financial institution having their own specific requirements for lending and investing.
While the completion of the outstanding phase of work is primarily a matter for the ICSH, I hope that they will be in a position to bring it to finality as soon as possible.
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