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Housing committee report demands real change in Government policy – Ó Broin

17 June, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

The Dáil Housing and Homeless Committee has today made a number of ambitious and achievable recommendations to the government that, if adopted, will make a real impact on the housing crisis.

Speaking today after the launch of the report, Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid-West and spokesperson for Housing Eoin Ó Broin said:

“Sinn Féin proposed the establishment of the Dáil Housing and Homeless Committee. After eight weeks of work involving over 40 hearings and 90 written submissions, we have produced a 156 page report containing 23 priority recommendations and over seventy recommendations in total.

“Sinn Féin is satisfied with the report and strongly commends it to the Minister and to the Dáil.

 “The Committee was unanimous in the view that at the core of this housing crisis is the lack of supply of social and affordable housing and an over reliance on subsidising private sector units to meet social housing need.

“In 2015, the Government only delivered 1,991 real social houses.  This year, the Government plans to provide only 3,000 real social houses. This is not enough and the committee has recognised that.

 “One of the key recommendations of the report calls on the Government to increase the stock of real social housing by 50,000 units over the next five years. This would require a trebling of the numbers of units to be provided under current government plans.

“This target requires the Government to commit to a maximum level of exchequer funding in the capital investment programme and the mobilisation of funds, on or off balance sheet, from the Housing Finance Agency, Strategic Investment Fund, Irish League of Credit Unions and others.

“To quicken the pace of the delivery of social housing and to tackle the lengthy delays that exist due to cumbersome procurement process, the Committee  has recommended that all procurement and tendering needs to be fast tracked in order to the reduce the average 18 month delivery time frame. A new Housing Procurement agency would also play a role in driving the delivery of this new social housing programme.

“The Committee has also made significant recommendation to keep people in their homes including a moratorium on repossessions; introduction of rent certainty; increasing rent supplement and housing assistance payments; and strengthening tenant rights including tenants in repossessed buy-to-lets.

“While much of the focus of the Committee was on increasing the supply of social housing and reducing levels of homelessness, there was also a focus on those people currently experiencing homelessness and acute housing need.

“The report includes important recommendations on issues such as Traveller accommodation, families experiencing domestic violence, families existing Direct Provision, and young people leaving state care and other institutions.

“The Committee’s recommendations are ambitious, but they are also necessary to make a real dent in the housing crisis.

“Minister Coveney needs to commit to implementing, at minimum, the 23 priority recommendations made in this report. However, there are over 70 recommendations which the Committee strongly feels that the Minister should seriously consider when drafting his Housing Action Plan.

“Minister Coveney has promised to make radical decisions if necessary to tackle this crisis. He should start by adopting the recommendations of this Committee into his Action Plan for Housing.” 

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