Maria Bailey T.D., chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, said housing associations should provide rented accommodation on a non-profit basis, in addition to traditional social housing.
Ms. Bailey, speaking to a crowd of over 100 housing industry experts gathered at Dublin Castle, said more affordable rental housing was needed at the bottom end of the market.
She added private investors were mostly providing accommodation at the higher end.
Housing charities are naturally placed to meet the high level of need for affordable rented homes, she said.
The conference – Making the rental strategy work – was hosted by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) in conjunction with the Department of Housing, Planning, Communities, and Local Government. It was attended by housing industry experts from Ireland and the UK.
The future of the Irish rental sector was debated by a wide range of speakers including John O’Connor, chief executive of the Housing Agency, Rosalind Carroll, director of the Residential Tenancies Board and John Leahy, director of irishlandlord.com.
Nicola McCrudden, director for CIH Ireland, said: “It’s clear that more affordable homes are needed and housing associations have an important part to play.
“The private rental sector is growing in size with some people living there by choice and others by necessity.
“The overall shortage of housing means more people rely on private rented accommodation as a place to call home, so we have to ensure people have greater access to rented housing that is affordable.
“Today we heard a lot of great ideas that could achieve a sustainable rental sector in Ireland, from a very broad range of housing professionals.
“No one body can solve the housing crisis alone – it’s important that organisations work together and draw on international approaches, so that we can deliver more affordable homes for people who need them.”
Photo, L-R: Nicola McCrudden, director for CIH Ireland; Terrie Alafat CBE, chief executive of CIH; Maria Bailey T.D., chair of the Oireachtas committee on housing; John O’Connor, chief executive of the Housing Agency