Government deliberately massaging social housing need figures to justify inadequate social housing delivery targets - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Eoin Ó Broin TD, has today accused the government of deliberately massaging social housing need figures in order to justify their inadequate social housing delivery targets.
The comments were made after the Housing Agency published their annual summary of social housing need report.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“Today the Housing Agency published their annual social housing need report. It shows that in 2022 there were 57,842 households on local authority social housing waiting lists.
“On the back of this report, the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien is claiming that, since 2016, there has been a 36.8% drop in social housing need. His claim is based on the fact that since that year the number of households on council waiting lists fell by 33,758.
“What the Minister is not telling people is that, from 2016, the number of social housing applicants living in the private rented sector on short two-year leases subsidised by the Housing Assistance Payment has exploded from 16,493 to 59,490.
“Social housing applicants in receipt of HAP are not included in the council list figures.
“During the same period, the number of households in short-term four-year Rental Accommodation Scheme leases has fallen marginally from 20,306 to 16,723. These households are also not included in the council list figures.
“HAP and RAS tenants do not have their long-term housing needs met. They are no different to social housing applicants in receipt of Rent Supplement who are included in the council waiting list figures.
“When HAP and RAS tenants are added to the overall social housing need figures, it shows that there are currently 134,055 households in need of social housing, an increase of 4.4% on 2016.
“The removal of HAP and RAS tenants from the social housing need figures is deeply dishonest. Government is deliberately massaging social housing figures.
“They are doing this to justify their inadequate social housing delivery targets.
“The current government social housing targets are not based on an honest and objective assessment of social housing need.
“It is time for Darragh O’Brien to be honest with the public. He needs to change the terms of reference for the Housing Agency’s annual social housing need report to include all households in need of social housing.
“More importantly, he needs to accept that his targets for social housing delivery are simply too low and that they must be increased in order to meet what has been a growing need in recent years.”