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    How Ireland Is Priortising Luxury Flats And Office Space During Our Housing Crisis In 15 Steps

    The next time you read a newspaper article on Ireland's homelessness crisis or rising rents epidemic, remember these points. Here's how our money is being prioritised on the building of luxury apartments and commercial office space. Not affordable housing units. You know, something that what could actually help.

    1. NAMA has to listen to our Minister for Finance

    NAMA listens to this guy. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.

    Section 14.— (1) of the National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 says: "The Minister may give a direction in writing to NAMA concerning the achievement of the purposes of this Act."

    It goes on: " NAMA shall comply with a direction given by the Minister under this section."

    Put simply, Michael Noonan, our public representative, can tell NAMA what to do.

    And they have to do it.

    2. One of Nama's core purposes is to further the 'social and economic development of the state'

    It's right there in Section 2 of the NAMA Act 2009.

    Maybe, during a housing crisis where it's thought that between 15,000 and 30,000 housing units are needed to alleviate Ireland's rising rents and homelessness epidemic, some affordable housing may be on their agenda?

    3. Ah no. They've built none

    That's zero. NAMA has not contributed any affordable housing units at a time of increasingly desperate need.

    4. But sure why should they?

    NAMA's not for that kind of thing though, are they? Not exactly.

    NAMA is almost completely based – in structure and in strategy – on an the American Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC). A US 'bad bank' established during a depression in the States.

    NAMA has copied the organisation in almost every key way, bar one.

    One of the RTC's key objectives was "to expand and maintain affordable housing". They provided over 100,000 affordable units over the course of its lifetime.

    5. What kind of construction work is NAMA involved in, then?

    There's 22 hectares of development land in the Dublin Docklands of which NAMA controls 75 percent.

    They're partnering up with one of the world's largest hedge funds o3 Capital to build about 2 million sq ft of commercial office space on the site.

    6. Commercial office space during an acute housing crisis?

    Yeah, pretty much. One of our major resources in this housing crisis has decided to prioritise commercial office space.

    7. Surely there are some housing units being constructed in this development?

    Ah yeah, there are. NAMA are teaming up with Singapore-based property development firm Oxley Holdings to develop a small number of luxury apartments in the docklands.

    Oxley say they're "a lifestyle property developer catering for the upwardly mobile homebuyer and entrepreneur".

    So that'll help with this, you know, affordable housing crisis.

    8. This is taxpayer money, yeah? You know, our money?

    Aye.

    9. And how much is it costing?

    Hmmm. About €2 billion.

    In other words, four times our yearly budget for the construction of social housing.

    You know, something that would tackle both rising rents and homelessness.

    10. Let that sink in.

    In 22 hectares in the middle of Dublin we’re going to put four times as much money into building offices as we’re going to spend nationally on social housing.

    11. What does NAMA have that we need?

    Three things: 1) Houses; 2) Land; and 3) Money.

    12. Let's focus on land...

    There's site in the docklands and there's sites like the 400-acre site in Dublin 18 that was sold to US funds Hines and King Street Capital at a knockdown price.

    13. ...and money

    NAMA does three things when selling assets (land/property) to hedge funds and private equity funds:

    1.) It sells at a big discount – its assets are cheap.

    2.) They actually lend clients money – vendor finance – so they can acquire these assets.

    3.) They lend development capital at a very low interest rate to help move construction along.

    14. If we can do this for private vulture and equity funds, why can't we use these strategies to help with affordable housing? Who can help start this?

    Any ideas? Who exactly could dictate this to NAMA?

    Given that the institution they're actually based on helped build affordable housing?

    Given that one of NAMA's core objectives is to "to contribute to the social and economic development of the state?

    Any ideas?

    15. Go back to the start

    Oh yeah.

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