NAMA can provide the backbone of new State Housing Agency

12 January 2018

Labour Party spokesperson on Housing, Jan O’Sullivan TD has repeated her longstanding proposal for NAMA to form the backbone of a new State Agency to deliver and finance affordable and public housing.

Deputy O’Sullivan first put forward a proposal on repurposing NAMA in Summer 2016, while Fianna Fáil have now indicated their support for similar proposals in their next manifesto.

Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“In the Budget, the Government announced that they would use NAMA to create a new funding vehicle for private developers.

“As far back as Summer 2016, I proposed broadening NAMA’s remit to provide social and affordable housing, and rebrand the agency as the National Housing Development and Finance Agency.

“Following sustained market failure to deliver new builds, the State must now take an active role in the development of affordable housing, and the long term financing of social housing through local authorities.

“The State needs to pick up the slack from where private developers have failed. There are simply not enough homes being built.

“Under Labour’s proposal, the focus of NAMA would become one of addressing the serious shortage in supply of residential accommodation for sale or for rent at affordable prices. It would also give NAMA the power to give financial assistance to local authorities and approved housing bodies for the construction of social housing.

“While I am glad to see Fianna Fáil also coming around to this point of view, it is disappointing that it has taken them so long.

“The repurposing of NAMA has the potential to be transformational, but unfortunately the Government are intent on turning it into a private finance initiative.

“Including public housing in a new remit for NAMA would provide a framework for the construction of social and affordable homes through NAMA’s remaining land banks. It would also allow the State to tap into the existing expertise and resources already in place at NAMA, and negate the need for the setting up of a new quango to deal with the housing crisis.

“What we now need to see from Government and Fianna Fáil is a sense of urgency about ensuring social houses are built, and a national scheme that ensures homes that are built, are affordable.

“There is also an opportunity to provide long term, low cost finance to local authorities and approved housing bodies for the construction of social housing, through a repurposed NAMA and HFA that could leverage the €5.3 billion available in the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.”

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