Unique housing scheme receives first residents

by Emma Nolan
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The first residents of Ireland’s only affordable housing development moved into their new homes last week.
The scheme, being run by the O Cualann Cohousing Alliance, is building 49 affordable housing units at a site in Poppintree near Ballymun.
They range from two bed terrace, up to four bed detached houses and are available to current members of local co-ops or those living in the North West area of Dublin.
The houses range in price from €140,000 for a two bed terrace property to €219,000 for a four-bed detached house, which is more than 30% lower than the market value of similar properties in the area.
The scheme is specifically aimed at families with an income of €36,000 to €80,000 and O Cualann plans to have all families moved in by September 2018.
Helen Cheever, her partner and their two sons were one of the families receiving the keys to their new house. Helen will be saving money every month thanks to the scheme, with her new mortgage coming in €700 cheaper than the rent she has been paying.
Helen said: “My partner and I have been looking for a house for years and we’re delighted to finally be moving into our own home early next week.
“We’re big into energy saving and with the solar panels and low energy rating of this house, we’ll be saving on electricity and heating each month too.”
The families that are moving in have signed a common charter that binds them to collectively defined community values.
This includes a desire to live in a community where people get to know their neighbours before they move in, where they look out for each other, and where they feel safe and secure.
Speaking last week, CEO of O Cualann Cohousing Alliance Hugh Brennan said: “The time is right for the Government to bring in policies to support and promote affordable housing schemes.
“We now have our first five families moving in to their new homes, which they would not have been able to afford without this scheme. The development here in Poppintree shows that these projects work and there is no doubt that the demand it out there for more housing schemes like this.”
O Cualann is a not-for-profit company. This unique development represents a new co-operative housing model for Ireland.
As an approved housing body, the development levy on each unit has been waived by the council.
It has also sold each plot of land to O Cualann at a heavily discounted price. These factors have reduced development costs which are being passed onto the purchaser.

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