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Three reports published today show government is failing to meet housing need – Ó Broin

12 July, 2018 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has criticised Fine Gael for failing to meet housing need across the State. The three reports published today by Focus Ireland, Alone, and the Department of Education highlight the government’s failure to meet the needs of students, older people and those facing homelessness. 

Deputy Ó Broin said: 

“The government’s policy aimed at the tackling the housing crisis, Rebuilding Ireland, is two years old next week. 

“By all metrics, the housing crisis has in fact gotten worse since this policy was published. 

“The Focus Ireland Family Homelessness End of Year Review 2017 shows that the charity supported a record 14, 500 families last year.

“The report outlined a number of worrying emerging trends including the growth in the number of families in excess of 24 months in homelessness in the Dublin and the increase of 62% in family homelessness outside of Dublin during 2017. 

“Focus Ireland has stated for a long time that the biggest cause of homelessness is families being evicted into homelessness from the private rental sector when landlords sell up.

“The single most urgent thing the government can do is amend the Residential Tenancies Act to prevent buy-to-let landlords who benefitted from tax breaks from evicting tenants in order to move a family member in or sell the home. 

“Pensioner Homelessness is up 54% since Rebuilding Ireland was published in July 2016. The charity Alone in its report is calling for the government to build homes for older people who are currently renting but who won’t be able to once they retire.

“There were 128 homeless pensioners in May 2018. How is the government not able to provide homes for 128 older people? 

“The student accommodation crisis is worsening. Instead of incentivising the delivery of affordable on campus homes, this government provided tax breaks to institutional investors to build overpriced, inaccessible rooms for students.

“Every approach this government has taken to tackling the housing crisis has involved an over reliance on the private sector. More Housing Assistance Payments to private landlords over the construction of social and affordable homes, paying for hotels and Hubs over the delivery of homes and ignoring the rising incidence of pensioner homelessness. 

“To begin to seriously tackle the housing crisis, the government must commit to at least doubling capital investment in social and affordable housing for Budget 2019 

“The government must also accept that it’s over reliance on the private sector to deliver its Rebuilding Ireland targets is a huge part of the problem and must be reversed.” 

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