A sustainable housing system
18th July 2023
Unlocking state land and opening doors to affordable homes
18th July 2023

Focusing on construction to deliver social and cost rental homes

Respond is a leading Approved Housing Body in Ireland, directly managing the construction of social and cost rental homes. Through a forward funding model, Respond has successfully developed previously unviable sites, enabling the delivery of lifetime homes for people who need them.

The ongoing projects in Charlestown (138 homes), Sandyford (200 homes), and Long Mile Road (153 homes) serve as examples of Respond’s approach. These developments not only provide affordable housing but also offer a range of amenities, such as green spaces, community centres and childcare facilities, to create vibrant and thriving communities. Respond has always recognised the importance of providing services in the community; it has 17 early learning and school age care services across the country, three daycare for older people centres, six family homeless services, refugee resettlement services and family support services.

By combining social and cost rental homes, these developments provide affordable housing options for a range of groups, including low-income individuals and families, individuals with disabilities, older people and people who do not qualify for social housing but are unable to get a mortgage. This approach promotes social integration, ensuring that communities are built on a foundation of diversity and cohesion. Respond’s commitment to tenants extends beyond housing provision, as it offers on-site maintenance and tailored services, providing ongoing support to their tenants.

Over the past five years, Respond has commenced 3,347 homes with a value of just over €1.03 billion. It currently has 1,365 new homes under construction, with construction schemes ranging in value from €15 million to €65 million and total programme value in excess of €1.5 billion. Respond’s in-house property development team consists of registered architects, quantity surveyors, planners, clerks of works, technicians, and project managers who ensure the successful delivery of lifetime homes for people who need them.

By strategically selecting locations in areas with high demand for more affordable housing, Respond, working with their statutory partners, is playing a crucial role in addressing the housing crisis and ensuring that individuals and families have access to safe, secure, and affordable homes. Respond collaborates with statutory partners including the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Local Authorities, the Housing Finance Agency and The Housing Agency.

Recently, Respond has actively engaged on the reviews of the funding models which facilitates it to deliver social homes via the Capital Advanced Leasing Facility (CALF) and Cost Rental homes via the Cost Rental Equity Loans scheme (CREL). Through these ongoing engagements, the organisation are working with their partners to address project viability, reduce risk and directly impact lives by delivering much needed social and Cost Rental homes for families and individuals.

Charlestown: A model community design

Charlestown, one of Respond’s flagship developments, is an exemplary model for community design within a mixed tenure large-scale development. Here, Respond worked in collaboration with Fingal County Council, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and the Housing Finance Agency to deliver these homes. The site combines social housing managed by Respond and private rental properties managed by Urbeo. With a focus on creating a sustainable, inclusive and thriving community, Charlestown incorporates various design elements that prioritise well-being of all residents and promote community interaction.

“By prioritising tenant well-being and community engagement, Respond is creating sustainable and inclusive living environments.”

The layout of Charlestown is carefully planned to encourage social engagement and a sense of community. Pedestrian-friendly pathways, public squares and communal gardens are strategically integrated throughout the development, providing opportunities for residents to interact, build relationships and participate in community events. These shared spaces serve as catalysts for social cohesion, encouraging residents to take pride in their community and actively contribute to its success.

“By prioritising tenant well-being and community engagement, Respond is creating sustainable and inclusive living environments.”

The development incorporates energy-efficient infrastructure, such as solar panels, green roofs and rainwater harvesting systems. These eco-friendly features not only reduce environmental impact but also contribute to the long-term affordability and sustainability of the development, as they help minimise energy costs for residents.

The development was chosen by Respond as a pilot site for its new service delivery model that empowers a front-line, multi-skilled team to make effective decisions quickly, placing tenants’ needs at the forefront. Comprising tenancy management, property/block management, and community/support services, the Respond team includes three dedicated tenant relations officers (TROs) responsible for overseeing the allocation of all 138 homes, under the guidance of a tenant relations coordinator. Respond says this new model, working in collaboration with Fingal County Council, has been instrumental in streamlining operations and delivering high levels of tenant satisfaction.

A strong emphasis is placed on creating a sense of ownership and pride among its residents. Respond works to actively involve the community in decision-making processes, encouraging feedback and participation in shaping the development.

The housing management system being implemented in Charlestown serves as a model for managing larger developments. By prioritising tenant well-being and community engagement, Respond is creating sustainable and inclusive living environments.

As the housing crisis persists, Respond’s mixed tenure and income developments and new housing management practices serve as a blueprint for addressing the urgent need for affordable housing in a comprehensive and inclusive manner.

T: 01 808 7700
E: info@respond.ie
W: www.respond.ie