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State has abdicated housing responsibilities to private landlords – Ellis

21 December, 2015 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin TD and Housing Spokesperson Dessie Ellis has said that “housing and homelessness is one of the dominant issues facing our society. Deputy Ellis added that a major social housing programme was key to solving this crisis situation, but that it “requires political will”.

Sinn Féin propose to build 100,000 units over 15 years as part of their new social housing policies. Deputy Ellis said that building quality housing was the answer, not simply lowering the acceptable size of apartments to create a profitable ‘shoebox flat’ industry for developers.

The Dublin Northwest TD said:

“Housing and homelessness is one of the dominant issues facing our society. Finding a home and shelter is currently laden with difficulties for private buyers, renters and those in need of State assistance. People are dying on the streets as a result of homelessness.

“Solving the housing crisis across the island requires great vision, innovation and a holistic approach to tackle social housing need, private market provision, rent inequities, discrimination and community-based inclusivity.

“Most importantly, it requires political will.

“Over the last three decades, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour have changed the State’s housing policy to suit their own agendas. Instead of the State having direct responsibility for meeting the housing needs of those who cannot afford to buy homes, those parties have left housing provision to the private market.

“Worse still, they now want to revisit the minimum standards of size for apartments, possibly lowering the acceptable size by 18%. We cannot simply create a ‘shoebox flat’ industry that would profit developers while exploiting those who are struggling to put a roof over their heads.

“Sinn Féin believes that the solution to the housing and homeless crisis in the 26 Counties lies in a return to large scale Local Authority building. In Councils where social housing is in high demand the average length of time a family can spend waiting for a home allocation is 9 to 10 years. Social housing need has increased dramatically over the last two and a half decades. Since the start of the recession, housing waiting lists have increased by 40%. Between 1989 and 2013 however, social housing stock increased by only 30%.

“On this basis, Sinn Féin believes that the State needs to provide a minimum of 100,000 units over the next 15 years. We must build social housing, rather than be at the mercies of the private market and landlords.” 

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