Homeless summit a turning point for Minister Murphy which must result in radical policy change - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has stated that today’s homeless summit is a turning point for Minister Murphy and that his credibility as Minister rests on his post summit policy announcements.
Deputy Ó Broin also said that many are deeply sceptical about this summit and for it to be more than a PR exercise it needs to deliver radical policy change.
The Dublin Mid-West TD said:
“For today’s summit to be more than a flashy PR stunt the Minster must lead the implementation of radical policy change. This must start with being honest about how must investment in housing is truly required.
“The Minister for Housing’s assertion that funding is not an issue in tackling the homeless crisis is simply not true.
“The government is only spending €700m on social housing this year when it needs to spend at least €2bn to meet the need required. This doesn’t include the funding desperately required to roll out affordable purchase and affordable rental.
“The Minister must implement a series of radical policy changes. By stating that funding is not a problem, the Minister is effectively passing the buck and placing the blame on local authorities.
"It is often the case that after initial funding has been approved for a council build, it can take up to 24 months of back and forth before any homes tenanted.
“Local authorities are nearly entirely dependent on central government for funding and approval for every council home they want to bring on stream.
"With nearly 8,000 homeless people dependent on emergency accommodation it is time to dispense with some of the hoops local authorities are forced to jump through by central government in order to obtain approval and speed up delivery.
“Local councils are also best placed to deliver social and affordable homes on public land. The Minster must therefore frontload funding and allow local authorities to deliver public housing.
“We know at the crux of this issue is the lack of supply and while the pace of delivery of homes needs to increase, the government must urgently adopt measures to keep people in their homes.
“For example the Minister must reconsider his party’s opposition to the Focus Ireland amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act which limits the circumstances where a landlord can seek vacant possession of a home they intend to sell.
“The Minister must also be ambitious in his vacant homes strategy. Returning these homes to use could deliver thousands of affordable homes quickly. The government knows what needs to be done it is now a question of whether the Minister is brave enough to show the leadership necessary to provide real solutions."