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Government not facing up to crisis with pathetic housing targets - Ellis

5 May, 2015 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has said that the government’s plans to build just 600 social housing units this year are pathetic. He made his comments following the announcement by Minister Alan Kelly that an average of just 100 million euro will be spent building council houses over the next 3 years despite record homelessness numbers and severe housing need.

Deputy Ellis said;

"These figures are scandalous and the Minister expects people to congratulate this government, it’s an embarrassment and very frustrating when you are working with homeless families and people struggling to keep the roof over their heads.

“We have well over 100,000 people on housing waiting lists across the state, we spend nearly half a billion subsidising the private market every year and we have 1000 homeless children in emergency accommodation, but this government will only build 600 homes this year. This is simply not good enough.

“Even in the worst times of the crisis, Dublin city alone was building a third of the government’s state wide target. We need to be moving back to building thousands of social housing units every year. Until then we are not doing nearly enough to tackle the crisis.

“Instead over the next three years the government intends to plough a further 1.2 billion euro into subsidising private landlords while it builds a meagre 1700 homes through local authorities. The councils are best placed to tackle this crisis and housing shortage and should be at the forefront of the solution.

“The government must refocus on funding the construction and refurbishment of council homes. The homes needed will not be found on the private market, where developers operating as landlords are making handsome sums in extortionate rents due to the shortage of rental properties.

“Sinn Féin have called for this refocus for a long time as well as an immediate 1 billion investment of additional fund from the Strategic Investment Fund which would build at least 5400 homes. We also need rent controls now to stop the flow of renters into emergency accommodation right now.

“Social housing construction through local authorities is the only solution to our housing crisis."

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