Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has called on the government to prioritise the building of new social housing in the last two years of its term. He made his call amid rising housing need, soaring rent prices and serious concerns over conditions in the private rental market.
“Before the collapse the state was build 4000-5000 social housing units a year. Right now this government is building significantly less homes and housing need is actually much more severe now. Over 1 billion euro has been cut from the housing budget since 2008 but those in need of social housing has more than doubled.
“The Minister claims this failure to deliver housing was due to the economy but her government made a choice that housing people was not a priority. They need to change that position now and deal with the very bad conditions of the overpriced rental market which has only compounded the suffering of those on the receiving end of this government’s austerity agenda.
“The government must move to reduce private rents by starting strong negotiations with landlords who are being subsidised through Rent Supplement and RAS by nearly half a billion euro a year.
“They must also start to look for ways to fund a public housing build which will make a significant dent in the massive waiting lists. Sinn Féin has shown in our Jobs strategy that in a two year period public money could be found to build 9000 homes starting now.
“The government must also explore new ideas which they have paid lip service to in the past such as social housing bonds and independent trusts being set up by Local Authorities.”