A non-profit organisation which oversees the management of thousands of social and affordable homes around the country has said the Covid-19 crisis underlines the need for everyone to have a safe and secure home.
Co-operative Housing Ireland launched its No Place Like Home campaign today, coinciding with its 2019 Annual Report, and said that they want everyone to have the security enjoyed by their 3,000-plus members nationwide.
"From conversations we had with members during August and September we didn't know what to expect, as to whether they’d be fearful or despairing during Covid, the restrictions and the lockdown" the organisation’s policy and communications manager Eoin Carroll said.
"What we found to our surprise was a high level of resilience, a realisation and acceptance that home was a safe place to be," he added.
"What was important to them was a safe, secure and affordable home. Our rents are based on affordability, on ability to pay, and also on security of tenure so people aren’t asked to leave after a short period of time."
Mr Carroll said they were looking for more money provided for housing prior to the Budget and they welcomed the allocation of €110 million towards affordable housing and €500 million for social housing.
He added they were awaiting details of how the funding for housing will be spent, but organisations "realise that Covid is an unknown".
"I think a lot of approved housing bodies would have been surprised that there was a 22% increase in the housing budget. Obviously organisations like ourselves want more. There are 67,000 households on the housing waiting list nationally," he said.
The umbrella organisation for local housing co-operatives was founded in 1973 and has built over 6,000 homes throughout its history.
It delivered 371 new homes last year which was 50% more than in 2018.
Seán Murphy is a member who lives in Willow View in Castlebridge, Co Wexford.
He moved from an upstairs apartment elsewhere in the village because of breathing difficulties caused by cardio-obstructive pulmonary disease.
"I'll be two years here on the 27th of this month," he told RTE News.
"It’s absolutely gorgeous here. The neighbours couldn’t be nicer - very friendly and do anything for you, which is good, especially during lockdown."
He found various ways to keep himself busy during the quietest parts of the Covid-19 restrictions last spring, including exercise and gardening.
"During lockdown, just to keep the mind occupied I got some wood and made some flower boxes and set out some geraniums and begonias and stuff like that, just to pass away the time."
Mr Murphy described himself as "extremely lucky" and "very positive about life" with a fine home.