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Government policy forcing people into homelessness – Ellis

19 August, 2015 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin TD and Housing Spokesperson Dessie Ellis today said that Fine Gael and Labour are completely out of their depth on housing and accused them of implementing policies that are making the situation worse and forcing people into homelessness. 

Deputy Ellis called for a range of emergency interventions, including an immediate introduction of rent control measures to ensure fair rent levels, a major annual investment in social housing and a review of caps on rent supplement and Housing Assistance Payment.

Deputy Ellis said:

“The current crisis in housing and the appalling increase in homelessness are being caused by a government completely out of their depth on the issue.  Instead of bringing forward workable solutions they are announcing mickey-mouse schemes that are making the situation worse.

“As a result, people in full time employment are seeking emergency accommodation and the support of homeless charities.  Many 30-year-olds, with children of their own, have been forced to move back to the parental home to escape the trap.

“The reason that rents in many urban areas, but particularly in Dublin, have soared beyond a level which people can afford is because of the substantial decrease in social housing construction, the end of the affordable housing scheme and the growth in house prices in Dublin and other urban areas.  All of these require long-term solutions.

“However, there are emergency measures that the government can take today to alleviate pressure. Sinn Féin is calling on Minister Alan Kelly to immediately re-examine the practice of capping rent subsidies in the context of the introduction of a system of rent regulations, to ensure rents demanded by landlords do not rise further with an increase in the rent cap.

“Such a rent control system would not set rents but would enforce a fair standard for the market and manage increases to cover inflation and other costs for landlords ensuring a fair return for them and a fair rate for tenants.  Each local authority would set their standard and maximum rate per square meter which could be set no higher than 10% of that standard rate. A similar model has seen success recently in Berlin.”  

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