The housing system in Ireland is at a pivotal moment. Much has been written about the housing challenges that we face as a society. Supply, affordability, and sustainability are among the key issues that must be addressed if we are to overcome them.

As the new CEO of The Housing Agency, I am keenly aware of the responsibilities my colleagues and I have. The Housing Agency’s vision is to promote the building of sustainable communities. A key aspect of making a community sustainable involves ensuring that it has the resources and facilities necessary to support people at all stages of their lives. It must also be designed to accommodate a wide variety of needs.

Housing for All, the Government’s new housing plan, outlines key pathways and goals to deliver homes of all types for people with different housing needs. The Housing Agency will play our part in supporting the delivery of the plan’s objectives, but a wider cross-sectoral response is required for lasting solutions.

The four pathways in Housing for All, the Government’s new housing plan for Ireland(source: Government of Ireland).

The Housing Agency believes that innovation is critical to the future of housing in this country. New ideas in how we design and build our homes and communities can have lasting effects. Embracing new technologies can transform how we construct and live in our homes. Creative thinking can future proof our communities and equip them as we address the global climate emergency.

This belief in innovation is the catalyst for our partnership with the Irish Architectural Foundation. Together, we aim to encourage progressive and innovative solutions and ideas to meet our urgent housing challenges.

In 2022 the partnership will deliver an ideas competition and public programme to encourage a new housing movement that puts our people, community and environment at the centre.

Ideas can make a difference. In 2019 The Housing Agency and Dublin City Council introduced the concept of cost rental homes to policymakers and the public when it hosted an exhibition of the Vienna model of cost rental.

This year, Ireland’s first ever cost rental homes were delivered, with residents beginning new lives in secure, high-quality homes. Hundreds more homes are also on track for delivery. Who’s to say that an idea from this new competition won’t have a similar impact on how we provide homes in Ireland?

The Vienna Model of Housing exhibition, Housing Practitioners Conference, 04/07/19, Lyrath Estate Hotel, Kilkenny (Picture by: Lafayette Photography)

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