In response to enormous change in the housing sector, Clúid Housing has diversified the way it provides housing, but maintains its focus on secure, affordable homes.

Broome Lodge in Cabra, Dublin, was built in partnership with Dublin City Council, and is an example of an Older Persons’ Housing Scheme managed by Clúid.

Clúid Housing is an award-winning organisation with vast experience working in partnership with private developers and local authorities to provide quality housing to those on social housing waiting lists. Clúid is the largest approved housing body (AHB) in Ireland, with over 6,700 properties in management. These properties are home to over 17,000 people. Clúid, which this year celebrates 25 years in existence, is proud to have this national remit.
Social housing is a crucial element of Ireland’s housing market. Meeting the demand for good quality social housing relieves pressure on the private market. Clúid buys turnkey houses and apartments from developers, many of which are delivered through Part V of the Planning and Development Act. The organisation also often purchases an additional percentage of the available homes on the same project, at market value, where the socioeconomic mix of the project can sustain additional social housing.

A changing sector

The past 25 years have seen huge changes in the AHB sector. Clúid has gone from 100% Government grant-funded building programmes to becoming a serious player in the property market, utilising debt finance to deliver social housing. Our greatest strength is undoubtedly our people, with over 200 highly qualified and professional staff across the country, and a focus on housing that enables a focus on quality of service to all stakeholders.
Clúid’s business model is based on three core functions, supported by the typical ancillary functions, including our own award-winning in-house legal team and Clúid Works, our property maintenance team. The New Business Department delivers on a pipeline of new housing, Housing Services manages our tenancies and supports our customers, and Property Services manages and maintains our stock and is continuously upgrading and improving our older properties.

Sleaty Park View in Carlow Town was built in partnership with Byrne & Byrne Construction Ltd and Carlow County Council.

Working with developers
Clúid designs and builds its own housing schemes, and while this particular supply route provides quality and control, it is resource intensive compared to the purchase of new build units from a developer. We recognise the value of the many great developers out there who can do much of the work. Clúid has excellent relationships with developers across the country. In fact, in response to the lack of affordable development finance in the years immediately after the recession, Clúid designed its own bespoke contract to attract developers to deliver their own design and build projects. This product type remains particularly attractive to small and medium-sized developers, with staged payments that can reduce their financing costs.

Clúid has also undertaken several very successful regeneration projects with local authorities, and the redevelopment of the St Mary’s Mansions complex in Dublin 1 is one of its largest projects to date. This €21m redevelopment is scheduled for completion in late 2019 and, when complete, will provide high-quality social housing to 80 local families and single people from Dublin City Council’s social housing waiting list.

Clúid designed its own bespoke contract to attract developers to deliver their own design and build projects.

Older Persons’ Service
Clúid’s design focus is on homes for life, and we ensure that homes are suitable to whatever stage in ife our customers are at and whatever their family circumstances are. We are particularly proud of the work of our Older Persons’ Service, and the bespoke service it provides. Our model for older persons’ housing is one that encourages independent living, with support on hand to encourage integration with the community. We are working to develop this service as a business model to meet the growing demand from Ireland’s ageing population, and we look forward to launching this later in the year.

Ger and Debbie Kearney getting the keys to their new home at Sleaty Park View from Minister Eoghan Murphy.

Ambitious plans
Clúid has an ambitious programme to spend half a billion Euro to deliver 2,500 homes over a three-year period. The funding model is based on a soft loan from central Government of up to 30% of the cost of a property, which provides the seed capital to allow Clúid to borrow the balance from banks or private institutions. This loan is backed by a payment and availability agreement from the local authority for making the homes available for social housing. This funding model is very attractive to funders and while the majority of borrowings to date have been from the Housing Finance Agency, Clúid is now looking to the market to supply some project funding so that we can increase our delivery.
Our strategy focuses on our mission – a society where everyone has a great place to live – and our aspirations to build thriving communities. This strategy focuses on a wider range of people in need of housing, including exploring the potential for delivery of affordable and intermediate rental for families who are caught between the social housing income thresholds and the high cost of renting in the private market.
The housing sector faces many challenges: demand outstripping supply; a dearth of skilled workers; high land and development financing costs; and, a perception of an overly complex set of bureaucratic processes hindering delivery, to name but a few. However, Clúid sees enormous opportunity in these challenges. The Government’s Rebuilding Ireland policy provides a framework plan for increasing delivery, and the move away from grant funding has allowed the social housing sector to become more economically motivated, and therefore more business focused in its approach to delivery.
Clúid is well used to facing challenges. This has made us resilient, adaptable and brave. Clúid’s aim is to focus on its strengths – the knowledge and expertise it has built up over a quarter of century of operations – to support the business of delivering social housing. Clúid advocates for a collective approach that encourages responsible innovation and calls on all our partners to work with us to meet the current supply challenge.

Fiona Cormican
New Business Director, Clúid Housing