We can solve housing crisis but we must act now – Ellis
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis has told the government tonight that the solving the housing crisis will not be easy but they must act now.
He made his comments in the Dáil this evening as he proposed a Sinn Féin motion which includes a suite of measures for tackling the crisis in social housing and regulating the rental market in order to stop the rising tide of homelessness.
Deputy Ellis said;
“Sinn Fein has put forward this motion as a means to draw attention to the crisis in social housing but more particularly to draw attention to its causes and the obvious solutions to that crisis.
“To say the solutions are obvious is not to say they are easy. They are expensive and they require dedication and political will. They require that the government decide that the social good and the public interest come first. To condemn a child to deprivation or a family to homelessness is far more costly than to give them a home. That is at the heart of what we propose tonight, that a home is a right we cannot afford to deny to our people.
“Our proposals include an additional 6600 homes which the state could build through local authorities for social housing. This could be done by investing 1 billion euro from the Strategic Investment Fund.
“The construction of these 6600 homes would create thousands of jobs. It would generate increased VAT and income tax revenue. It would increase local authority rent revenues and stabilise private rents by decreasing demand. But most importantly it would allow thousands of people to live with dignity. This could draw savings of about 148 million euro over the next five years from Rent Supplement.
“We also propose a suite of measures which seek to help tenants in the private rental market. Rent Controls are particularly necessary as rents rise year on year and are putting people on the streets. Rates should be tied to the Consumer Price Index and the quality of the accommodation.
“Housing is not a right in Ireland in 2014 it is a very expensive privilege. I ask the government members to take on board these proposals, to work with us and to take the first steps towards realising that right to housing for all.”