Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy today met with the Minister of State for Housing, Jan O’Sullivan, to discuss the issue of social housing as part of a Monaghan County Council delegation.
Speaking afterwards Cllr Carthy said:
“There is a social housing crisis in this state and this government, by following the same processes as their Fianna Fáil predecessors, are exacerbating the problem on a daily basis. For example there are almost 1,500 families in need of council housing in Co. Monaghan alone, this in a county with a population of just 60,000.
“The reliance on private landlords through the Rental Accommodation Scheme and rent supplement is costing money and prolonging a problem that needs immediate action.
“Increases in rents and the cap on rent allowances are pushing more and more people into homelessness while some councils have had houses boarded up because they are too unsafe for people to live in.
“Before the collapse of the economy the state was building up to 5,000 social housing units a year. Today the Fine Gael/Labour government is building almost none despite housing need being more severe than ever.
“Over €1 billion has been cut from the housing budget since 2008 while the numbers of those in need of social housing have more than doubled.
“The number of people on local authority lists continues to rise. Almost 100,000 families are on the waiting lists. Meanwhile, 3,500 council houses are lying empty.
“Cuts to rent supplement levels are forcing people into financial hardship and in some cases into homelessness.
“Homeless charities are reporting a significant increase in the number of people using their services.
“What we need is real investment in a local authority house building and purchasing programme for people who need them. The government cannot continue to abandon its responsibility to provide social housing for people in need. I want to thank the Minister for meeting with our delegation and I hope she has heard our message loud and clear.”