Adequate shelter is one of the most basic human needs and is consequently one of the most important human rights. This government doesn’t agree. We face a huge housing crisis. In October 2014, the official rough sleeper count was 20% higher than the previous year and nearly double the 2012 figure. According to April 2015 figures there are 3,000 people in emergency accommodation. Some families are forced to live in a single room. The number of homeless children continues to rise.
There are almost 90,000 households on the social housing waiting list. 104,693 households were in mortgage arrears at the end of Q1 2015. The number of accounts in arrears over 90 days was 74,395. Government inaction on home repossessions and rising rents are driving more families into homelessness.
Sinn Féin Would:
The State can tackle housing need but this requires political will and investment. In this 2014 document on social housing in the 26 counties Sinn Féin advocates investment in a programme of house building, reform of rental assistance, the introduction of rent controls, greater provision for people with disabilities, travellers and those leaving situations of domestic violence, and more resources to address homelessness and rough sleeping.
The coming election will be about who can deliver a fair recovery for all our citizens. At present we have parties that imposed austerity, punished those most in need and are now claiming a one sided and unfair recovery. Sinn Féin offers a republican vision of Ireland, deliverable policies for a fair recovery and a new form of politics. An Irish language version of this document is also available here.
Budget 2015 provided an opportunity to begin building a fair recovery. Here we set out a plan to maximise growth in the economy, protect and improve public services and balance the tax system.