Housing - a human right, not a commodity
Sinn Féin Assembly candidate Raymond McCartney, outlining Sinn Féin's policy on housing and homelessness, has stated that, "Sinn Féin has committed itself to making housing a right, not a commodity."
Mr McCartney said:
"Sinn Féin believes that proper accommodation is a basic and inalienable right. We are concerned that the social housing stock held by the Housing Executive has dwindled significantly from 157,000 in 1991 to 118,000 in 2000. Equally worrying, the Housing Executive has jettisoned its programme of social housing, leaving that responsibility to housing associations that are not subject to equality duty and largely unaccountable.
This decline reflects the broader trend of privatisation by the back door. We are not against mixed tenure housing estates or the right of a tenant to purchase their own home but we are concerned about the impact that the decline in social housing will have in areas of housing stress where there are also high incidences of social deprivation.
In order to ensure that everyone has access to acceptable, affordable and appropriate housing Sinn Féin will ensure:
- The right to a home enshrined in the Bill of Rights along with associated
- human rights consistent with tackling poverty as a denial of human rights.
- The development of a properly funded social housing programme
- Rigorous use of equality legislation to ensure fair and equitable access to social housing by all sections of the community;
- Targeted social housing proportionate to the levels of income and income deprivation, reflective of personal needs and consistent with the preservation of human dignity and
- A multi-agency strategy to eradicate damp and inadequate heating in social, voluntary/non-profit and private housing.
We will also be seeking to promote a system of regulatory rent control in the private sector and the enforcement of enhanced legal protection for tenants to stop them becoming homeless through arbitrary rent hikes.
We will also promote co-operative partnerships between state-run financial institutions and the more progressive financial institutions (such as local credit unions) to regulate or provide more effective avenues for lower income households to purchase their own home if they choose to do so."
"Sinn Féin believes housing is a right, not a commodity and respecting that
right is the challenge we have set ourselves."