Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has criticised the government for seeking, in its new Housing Bill, to only massage and misrepresent housing figures rather than actually deal with housing need. He made his comments during a debate on his amendment to the Bill which sought to deal with the problem of Rental Accommodation Scheme tenants being evicted due to rent hikes.
Deputy Ellis stated:
“The new Housing Assistant Payment plan will take people off the waiting list while not actually providing them with secure, affordable housing. The government are trying to redefine housing need and adequate housing in order to pretend they are tackling the problem. They are just massaging the figures.
“The government have constantly misrepresented their plans for housing. They have claimed to be delivering 4000 properties from NAMA but in fact it is less than half of that which has been made available. They now claim that they are delivering 6000 houses this year but more than half of those are leased properties or properties provided under RAS.
“These schemes have failed people time and again. Rent assistance can work in the very short term emergency situation but it is not secure and not affordable. We already spend 344 million euro a year on Rent Supplement and people are still losing their homes within this scheme due to rising rents and landlords pulling out.
“The solution to these problems is to provide housing through local authorities. It’s not a simple solution and it will take time to deliver but it must be done. Policies which actually endanger tenants and strip them of their rights are not an option.”