NAMA has a commitment under the NAMA Act “to contribute to the social and economic development of the State” and we saw at the end of 2011, the announcement by Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan announce that NAMA was to provide 2,000 homes for social housing. NAMA clarified this by saying the homes would be provided on arms-length commercial basis, but with 98,000 families on the housing waiting list representing nearly 200,000 citizens, the Minister’s announcement was welcomed. Nearly ten months later, and how are we doing with progress?
In the Dail last week the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty together with Sinn Fein’s agriculture spokesman Michael Colreavy and Fianna Fail’s environment spokesman Barry Cowen all asked the junior minister at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government Jan O’Sullivan for a progress update.
What is the latest? The full questions and answer are shown below but this extracts the data and once you get past the bluster about identifying, examining, negotiating, considering, it emerges that just two homes have in fact been sold by NAMA this year for social housing.
(1) NAMA has IDENTIFIED 3,700 homes that MAY be considered for social housing
(2) From the 3,700 we deduct 980 which housing authorities rejected or NAMA withdrew – 438 were deemed unacceptable and 542 were withdrawn by NAMA or those controlling the property
(3) So that leaves 2,720 homes
(4) 1,246 are just now being EXAMINED by housing authorities
(5) So that leaves 1,474
(6) 391 of these are subject to ongoing NEGOTIATION
(7) 167 are under ACTIVE CONSIDERATION by NAMA’s SPV*
(8) So that leaves 916
(9) 118 homes have ACTUALLY BEEN PROVIDED BY NAMA
(10) There is no word on the 798 other homes
(11) Of the 118 homes provided by NAMA just 94 are for SOCIAL HOUSING
(12) There is no word on the 28 other non-social housing homes provided
(13) Of the 94 homes provided for social housing 34 are RENTED BY NAMA, and I would hazard a guess that some of these are to Dublin City Counil residents of Priory Hall
(14) So that leaves 60 which have been SOLD BY NAMA
(15) And 58 of these were sold to Cluid housing association in the summer of…..2011!
So let’s get this straight, since Minister Hogan’s fanfare announcement in December 2011 of 2,000 homes being provided by NAMA, to the end of August 2012 compared with December 2011, an overall total of TWO homes have in fact been sold by NAMA for social housing, and a further 34 are being rented.
Now on this occasion, it seems as if NAMA has held up its side of the bargain and found 3,700 homes from its 13,200 Irish homes portfolio which might be suitable for social housing, and it has engaged with Department and with housing authorities. NAMA is keen to sell and would relish the boost to its embattled reputation to have a few social housing sales concluded. So why has there been practically no progress in eight months of 2012. Perhaps the €147,000 a year “super” Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan can answer that one – she’s one of the two “super” junior ministers along with Paul Kehoe who get an extra €17,205 on top of their junior ministerial premium of €37,370 on top of their TD salary of €92,672.
*SPV, Olivia Kelly at the Irish Times – this didn’t warrant a NAMA press release – reported in August 2012 that NAMA had set NAMA Asset Residential Property Services Limited on 18th July 2012 with the aim of speeding up the sale of homes for social housing.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he or his Department have engaged in an discussions or negotiations with the National Asset Management Agency to act on their requirement to provide a social dividend by releasing properties for social housing to the ownership of local authorities.
Deputy Michael Colreavy: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide an update on the delivery of the promised 2,000 units from the National Assets Management Agency portfolio; and the details of the method through which they will be paid.
Deputy Barry Cowen: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the discussions he has held with the National Assets Management Agency regarding social housing lists in relation to procuring suitable housing stock to tackle social housing lists.; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Jan O’Sullivan: I propose to take Question Nos. 51, 63 and 1115 together.
Over the past 12 months both Minister Hogan and I have met with NAMA to discuss the provision of properties for social housing. Since the announcement in December 2011 that NAMA would commit to providing units for social housing by the end of 2012, a Steering Group comprising my Department, the Housing Agency and NAMA have been working together with housing authorities and approved housing bodies (AHBs) towards achieving this objective.
Progress to date in delivering units for social housing purposes has been slow. In the main this is due to the complexities of getting agreement from multiple parties operating within an environment subject to a range of legal and financial constraints. I hope that the recent establishment by NAMA of a Special Purpose Vehicle, to facilitate the leasing of units, will ensure speedier delivery on the commitment.
Notwithstanding the difficulties encountered, NAMA have identified over 3,700 units to be considered for social housing. Of those that have been examined to date, 438 have been deemed unsuitable by housing authorities. A further 542 have been withdrawn, usually by property owners as circumstances change e.g. units have been sold or let privately and are no longer available. Another 1,246 units are for examination by housing authorities as to their suitability for social housing purposes.
At present demand has been confirmed for over 1,500 units which are currently being processed. Of the 1,500 units, 391 are currently under negotiation with relevant parties (i.e. AHB’s, housing authorities, NAMA, receivers, property owners etc.). A further 167 are under active consideration for acquisition by the Special Purpose Vehicle.
To the end of August 2012, 118 housing units have been provided from the portfolio of units identified by NAMA. 94 of these units are for social housing purposes. Of these units 34 are funded under leasing arrangements with the balance of units delivered funded through the local authority social housing capital investment programme or by AHB’s under the Capital Assistance Scheme.