LOCAL housing association, Carbery Housing (CHA), is set to purchase a further six houses in mortgage arrears shortly taking the total number of properties owned around Cork county and city to 14.
This is a significant move for the formerly small social enterprise, and is a step towards the community-led organisation’s plans to increase this figure to 40 homes by 2021.
CHA was set up in 2001, on the initiative of local residents in Baltimore, where it was felt holiday home development was pushing house prices out of the reach of local people.
After unsuccessful attempts to secure support for housing initiatives from Cork County Council, CHA began leasing privately-owned homes for rent to families in dire need from the Council’s housing list. In 2018 CHA became a participant in the Mortgages to Rent initiative, and began purchasing houses from owner-occupiers who were unable to repay their mortgages and opted for mortgages being sold to CHA, on the understanding that they will remain in their homes as permanent tenants of the Association, paying council-equivalent rents.
Company secretary and co-founder José Ospina said: ‘CHA is undergoing a period of massive growth. This is a very exciting time for all of the volunteers who have been members of the board for so long. It’s great to see our years of hard work finally paying off and so many of these families who were at risk of homelessness being able to stay in their homes and live normal lives. At this time we are actively seeking new members to work with us and participate in the future provision, management and improvement of homes and communities, and the growth of the association.’
CHA has researched the extent of fuel poverty among its tenants and prospective tenants, and is working to address this affordability deficit by making tenants’ homes more energy efficient and integrating renewable energy systems into its properties. CHA is registered as a sustainable energy community with SEAI, and is also a partner in the EU-funded project RED WoLF (rethink electricity distribution without load following), that aims to install solar panels, storage and smart meters in CHA homes.
The organisation currently plans to hold its annual general meeting on April 2nd at 7pm, at O’Donovan’s Hotel, Clonakilty. All are welcome to attend (coronavirus allowing) and find out more about what the organisation has achieved so far and its plans for the future. The guest speaker will be the director of UCC’s clean production unit, Niall Dunphy, presenting his recently-completed fuel poverty report.
For more information on the above and other projects and events CHA is involved with, visit www.carberyhousing.eu.