Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has told the government that Ireland has a housing crisis that will not go away without significant investment in social housing. He was speaking on a Sinn Féin amendment to a Technical Group motion dealing with housing.
Touching on a number of issues including the need for a right to housing, rent controls and protections from eviction, Deputy Ellis also laid out a plan for investment in social housing which he said would fund the construction of about 7500 homes.
Deputy Ellis said:
“Sinn Féin has submitted an amendment to this motion and I ask that it be supported by those who really want to deal with the problems in our housing system.
“Sinn Féin has identified 1 billion euro in the Strategic investment Fund which could be used for social housing investment.
“Based on statistics from the Department of Environment it would be possible to build approximately 6502 homes using 985 million euro of this fund and to renovate the remaining 948 long term vacant houses with a further 15 million euro investment.
“That would total 7500 newly available homes under Local Authority control which could be commenced in the next 12 months. That is in addition to existing government plans to deliver in the region of 5000 homes by 2015.
“If Rent Supplement recipients, of which there are 78,000, were prioritised for housing this could save in the region of 32 million euro on that bill. Local authority rent revenue would also increase.
“It would also create thousands of jobs for people who had formerly been employed in the construction industry.
“7500 new rental homes would significantly curtail demand on the private market. This would drive down rents which have soared in recent years putting many into emergency accommodation or at risk of homelessness. This decrease in rents would further reduce the cost of rent assistance payments.
“This would be a bold move but it would have an immediate positive effect on the lives of many thousands of people and give hope to many very desperate people who fear for the roof over their families’ heads due to the effects of 6 years of austerity levelled at the most vulnerable.”