Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has today said that if in government Sinn Féin would put in place a plan to deliver approximately 7448 additional homes on top of current government targets. He was speaking following the publication of a Sinn Féin amendment to a motion on housing before the Dáil this week.
Deputy Ellis said;
“We have a housing crisis in this state. The government have ignored this for most of their time in government but Sinn Féin has been putting forward real solutions and this is just one of them. We do not have enough social housing to meet demand and this had led to a great deal of hardship for low income families, renters and unemployed people.
“Sinn Féin is not interested in simply being on the right side of the argument. Everyone knows something must be done and we are presenting a plan to start to get people into homes.
“We have identified €1 billion of unused money in Ireland’s Strategic Investment Fund which could be used as a social housing investment.
“Current cost projections from the Department of Environment state the average cost of building a new social housing unit is €151,477 and the cost of renovating an unused social housing unit is approximately €15,756.
“This investment could provide an additional 7450 homes on top of current government targets. If initiated now we could commence the delivery of a minimum of 12,450 new social housing units before next summer.
“Using €985 million from the Strategic Investment fund 6502 homes could be built with each one costing about €151,477. A further €15 million would renovate the remaining 948 long term vacant social housing units across the state.
“These are conservative figures based on real government statistics which would have a dramatic effect on the lives of many people in desperate housing need.
“In 2012, when Sinn Féin originally proposed a large scale investment, we projected as many as 9000 homes could be built for the same money. Unfortunately the government failed to act and this inaction has meant numbers have had to be revised down due to rising costs.
“Additional benefit of this investment would be the creation of thousands of construction jobs. It would also cause an increase in Local Authority rent revenue and a drop in demand for rental property which would counteract recent spikes in private rents beyond people’s ability to pay.
“There would also be savings in the Rent Supplement bill. If the 7450 families housed came from the Rent Supplement scheme we project a saving of about €32.8 million based on the average subsidy.
“Sinn Féin is dedicated to offering realistic and achievable solutions to the housing crisis. This investment is part of that. We are not interested in plucking numbers out of our imagination or accepting the status quo where over 100,000 people are not adequately housed and more and more are homeless or at risk of homelessness.”