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Sinn Féin publishes housing proposals as part of Alternative Budget 2019

28 September, 2018 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin has this morning published its housing proposals as part of its alternative budget 2019. The fully costed housing plan will increase investment in social and affordable housing, tackle rising rents, and will address homelessness, housing inequality and poor housing standards.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“A Sinn Féin led government would make tackling the housing crisis a priority. The document we are launching today not only contains our budgetary proposals for 2019, it also has legislative and policy initiatives aimed at tackling the housing crisis. 

“If this government or indeed Fianna Fáil is serious about tackling the housing crisis, they must at least double capital investment in social and affordable housing. That is what Sinn Féin is proposing.

“Government expenditure on social housing in 2019 is projected at €1.3bn with a target of 7410 real social houses.

“Sinn Féin would increase this by a further €1bn to double the output of public housing.

"This would deliver an additional 2,850 social homes, consisting of 1,500 new builds, Part Vs and acquisitions, 950 vacant units via Buy and Renew and 400 units of traveller specific accommodation.

"This would bring the total number of social houses delivered in 2019 to 10,260, which is what was recommended by the Cross Party Housing and Homeless Committee report.

"This government has not delivered one affordable home in 2016, 2017 or 2018 and it has no affordable housing targets for next year.

"Sinn Féin would deliver 4,630 affordable homes of which 1,435 would be cost rental and 3,195 would be affordable sale.

"Sinn Féin would also introduce measures to curb rising rents.

Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said:

“Rent prices are the highest in the history of the state and are continuing to rise. These rent hikes are unsustainable and are adding to a growing cost of living crisis.

“The government’s weak rent pressure zone legislation isn’t working.

“Therefore Sinn Féin propose the introduction of a temporary tax relief for renters in tandem with a three year emergency rent freeze. This relief would cost €265m per year.

“This tax relief will cover the price of one month’s rent for every renter in the State for a period of three years. It will be capped at €1,500 per renter, and will be refundable to ensure working people on low incomes benefit.

“Under the emergency rent freeze existing tenancies would have rents frozen at their current levels. Any new tenancies would be pegged to the Residential Tenancies Board standardised average rent index by County and where appropriate Local Electoral Area as appropriate from budget day."

Sinn Fein also aim to address homelessness, housing inequalities and housing standards.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“With over 10,000 adults and nearly 4,00 children living in emergency accommodation decisive, urgent action needs to be taken.

“Sinn Féin would deliver over 10,000 new social homes in 2019 which would allow local authorities to reduce the number of families in emergency accommodation. 

“We would also commit to introducing 1,000 Housing First Tenancies from within the overall provision of social housing to reduce long term homelessness. 

“We would invest €5m towards the establishment of a Quality Standards Framework and Inspection regime.

“Sinn Fein is committed to tackling inequality. Some of our budgetary proposals aimed at tackling housing inequality include
  • Funding an additional 400 traveller accommodation units at a cost of €9.7m bringing the total budget to €21.7m. This is part of our commitment to restore Traveller Accommodation funding to its 2008 level of €40m.
  • Sinn Féin would increase funding for domestic violence emergency and step down accommodation and supports by €11.4m as part of commitment to reach a total of €60m by 2021.
  • Sinn Féin would increase funding to the Local Authority disability and mobility adaptation grants for Council tenants and private home owners by 25% at a cost of €13.25m.
  • Sinn Féin would increase funding for Local Authority inspections of private rental accommodation by €5m to bring forward the 25% annual inspection rate target and introduce a NCT style certification for rental standards.
  • Sinn Féin would we would provide €836,000 to fund Fire Safety Risk Inspection Teams for all multiple occupancy residential developments
  • Sinn Féin would invest an initial €7.5m to establish a fund for remedial works for homeowners who purchased properties prior to 2014 with serious structural latent defects where the developer is no longer trading and there is no way to cover costs. This is to be matched by €7.5m from industry.

Deputy Doherty concluded:

“These Housing proposals are part of the picture of Sinn Féin’s overall economic vision for Ireland. We have shown that the Housing crisis can be tackled within the current budgetary constraints if the right political choices are made.”

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