RESPOND! Housing Association is Ireland’s leading housing charity which seeks to create a positive future for people by alleviating poverty and creating vibrant, socially integrated communities. RESPOND! achieves this through providing access to education, childcare, community development programmes, housing and other supports.
Since RESPOND! was founded in Waterford City in 1982 it has considerably expanded its activities right across Ireland. RESPOND! has provided some 5,500 homes for individual families in need and has over 3,800 dwellings in management in over 160 estates, some 60 community buildings and 30 child-and-family centres.
Approved Housing Bodies (AHB) such as RESPOND! are making significant efforts to deliver homes at a time of unprecedented housing need. This involves embracing all financial models available, including the sourcing of private finance. A current example being the scheme in St John’s College, Waterford, which will provide accommodation for approximately 57 older persons including support services. This is one of many developments planned by Respond! over the next three years. RESPOND! current production programme consists of the provision of over 800 new dwellings at an overall cost in excess of €100 million by 2017.
In November 2014 Minister Alan Kelly launched the Government’s ‘Social Housing Strategy 2020: Support, Supply and Reform’. The Strategy commits to the supply of 35,000 social housing units at a cost of €3.8 billion over next six years and RESPOND! is determined to play its part in the delivery of these targets.
Recently appointed Chief Executive Officer Ned Brennan, has committed the charity to providing good quality homes which meet residents’ needs and aspirations, and strive to provide comprehensive support services.
Ned Brennan stated: “RESPOND! has a dream to support the development of a truly inclusive society which aspires to support the weakest with a full array of supports regardless of their ability/inability which is the true test of a caring society”.
From the outset, RESPOND! committed itself to the promotion of accessible, participative quality supports and education for its residents and the wider community. It pioneered training with its residents since 1992 and formally establishing Respond! College in 2011.
RESPOND! sees education as a continuum, delivering a life cycle approach to residents, including early education for children, parenting programmes, youth programmes and access to third level colleges.
RESPOND! champions capacity building, this comes from the acknowledgement and recognition that its remit is only partially complete when it hands over the keys. Integral to the future development of the housing sector is the recognition that a ’bricks and mortar’ approach will not have a transformative effect on society, as such, RESPOND! recognises and advocates the advancement of community development, and educational and training opportunities as core components in relieving poverty.
RESPOND! strongly advocates that Budget 2016 focus on reducing poverty and recommends that a significant proportion of the fiscal space in this year’s budget be used to resource communities and provide education. The societal, health, physical and educational impacts of just one budgetary provision can be enormous. Each and every decision needs to be taken in the context of a carefully thought out and fully considered assessment of the fact that it can have a transformative effect on communities and society in general.
Respond! Housing Association
Airmount, Dominick Place, Waterford.
Tel: 353 51 840200