A New Irish PPP Approach For Meaningful Volumes Of Social Housing

demolition of tower of council housing flats
MacDonagh Implosion photo by Ballymuner is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Council flats coming down in Ballymun, Dublin in 2005. Dublin has approved a new private partnership plan to build quantities of social housing.

This website has been rather relentless in its criticism of social housing built by public private partnerships (PPPs), which tag a small social housing caboose onto the back end of large private housing train. Time has shown that these partnerships (apart from the inevitable time and money-consuming partnership quarrels), simply cannot deliver the quantity of low income housing needed. As well, the starts, completions and locations of such projects depend on private sector profitability.

The use of this kind of PPP collapsed in Ireland in the economic downturn following the 2008 housing crisis. Now public private partnerships are being revived using another partnership model. Unlike earlier PPP models, the entire project will be social housing and will eventually owned by the local council. Private partner profits are earned over the first 25 years of the completed project, after which ownership reverts to the public partner.

This approach avoids the ‘bubble under the wallpaper’ approach to Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) PPP partnerships in the US. In those, the ownership of the entire project reverts not to the local council, but to the private sector at the end of 30 years, which postpones, rather than solving, a long term need for social housing.

Read more in The Irish Times: Almost 300 Social Homes To Be Built On Three Dublin Sites Under PPP Deal

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