Government policy leading to even fewer social homes in 2016 – Ellis
Sinn Féin’s Dessie Ellis TD has described as outrageous the news that even less new or refurbished social housing units will become available in Dublin this year than in 2015. He was speaking after Dublin City Council admitted that as few as 700 new units will be available through leases, refurbishment, acquisition or construction.
Deputy Ellis continued;
"Last year Dublin City Council built just 19 homes. It is expected that we will see an increase on that in 2016 but with fewer voids being refurbished, fewer homes coming available under Part V and not major purchases the council is set to fail miserably in reaching previously set targets. This is not the fault of the council though - they are fighting with one hand tied behind their back due to the policies of the outgoing government which prioritised developers and the private market over the needs of people without a home.
“In Dublin city alone there are over 42,000 people in need of social housing, most of those are having their private rents subsidised at a cost of hundreds of millions of euro each year. This is causing higher rents and putting pressure on all tenants. The government have refused to tackle this need in any way and in fact have made things worse, forcing hundreds of families into homelessness.
“The Department of Environment must fast track the delivery of funding and work with councils to build, buy and refurbish many more houses that currently expected. This is absolutely possible if the political will is there. Dublin city has land zoned for housing which could easily provide homes for every person on its waiting list.
“Another issue is the delay in reoccupying temporarily empty council houses. Due to cuts to maintenance and capital budgets for council housing this work is being carried out at far too slow a rate leaving houses empty for months when they require only minor works but the staff needed are not there.
“We also need to reverse the changes to Part V of the planning act which halved the social responsibility of developers and allowed developers to rent properties rather than provide them for sale at cost price. All new developments of five or more units should provide 20% social and affordable housing. Anything less would be a denial of the emergency situation we are in the human suffering it is causing."