- New figures show 10,253 people including 3,749 children homeless in May -
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson Darragh O’Brien TD has described the latest homelessness figures as a national scandal.
The homeless data report reveals that 6,504 adults and 3,749 children are currently homeless. This is the fourth consecutive month the figures have been above 10,000 people.
Deputy Darragh O’Brien stated, “The slight drop in numbers is welcome but the fact that this is the fourth consecutive month that homeless numbers are above 10,000 is startling. We should not lose sight of the damage this failure is inflicting upon thousands of children. This is a disgraceful situation and a scar on our society.
“We need a renewed commitment to a housing first approach to homelessness backed up by real resources. The government must respond with bricks and mortar in the ground to address this national scandal.”
Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD has hit out at Government for forcing prospective buyers to wait more than a year to even be able to apply for the Affordable Housing Scheme which has been heralded as the aid to their struggle to secure home ownership.
The Dublin Fingal TD highlighted a number of immediate concerns related to affordable housing during yesterday’s meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Jim Baneham, Head of Housing Delivery in the Housing Agency, and Paul O’Neill of the National Development Finance Agency.
He said, “It’s almost five months since this committee were assured by the Housing Agency that a much-needed Affordable Purchase Scheme would be in place in a matter of weeks.
“The scheme, to provide homes for low or middle-income buyers was signed into law a year ago but those waiting in frustration for an update on the long-promised solution.
“The negotiations around an increase to the service site fund took three years, a lot of time and with the aim of reducing costs but also to get the scheme up and running in the first instance. The four Local Authorities in Dublin have drawn up and accepted criteria for the scheme but there is still absolutely no indication of when the first affordable home will be delivered.
“According to Daft.ie, a single person in Dublin is paying 58.8% of their net take home pay on rent. It is crucial that we give people more options for affordable rental and affordable purchase.
“The income threshold, and particularly the threshold for couples with decent employment on average salaries, is too low. This must be reviewed to allow more perspective home owners to be eligible for the scheme.
“These are ordinary workers enduring extraordinary challenges if not to own their own home, to rent. The colossal expense imposed on people is as much a feature in the housing market now than it ever has been.
“I meet and engage with a lot of those affected each week and I can categorically tell you that the sense of hopelessness is continuing to heighten. We can never accept that handing over half of your take home pay to simply survive is a normal element of an inclusive, rewarding society.”
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD has said the Government need to come clean on the future of its troubled Affordable Home Loan Scheme in light of the ongoing failure to allocate the 2019 funding which was promised to Local Authorities nationwide.
The scheme is aimed at helping applicants who cannot get a mortgage through the banks to avail of a competitive loan from their local authority.
Speaking in Dáil Éireann this week, the Dublin Fingal TD said, “It’s been six weeks since I last quizzed the Minister regarding the status of the scheme and the funding allocated to it. This is in light of details I received through FOI that at least one Local Authority was not issuing loans to those approved due to delays in granting this year’s funding from Government. I was assured then that the matter was being discussed with the Department of Public Expenditure and would be revolved soon.
“This scheme was the Minister's sole measure to tackle the crisis in housing affordability. Prospective homeowners, desperate to get on the property ladder but unable to afford to buy given the current price of property were assured that this scheme would work. They were encouraged to apply via their Local Authority but thousands of people continue to be left in limbo completely unaware of what stage their application is at and when it might progress.
“Local authorities such as Kildare County Council are not in a position to agree to provide loans to those who have successfully met criteria because the Government has avoided allocating the necessary funding which had been promised for 2019.
“We’re now six months into the year and the Minister continues to refuse to provide a straight answer on what is going to happen next. It’s just not good enough. All of these people were made a promise of a loan and organised their lives on that basis. They are now being left high and dry by a party uninterested in supporting ordinary working people. Eoghan Murphy need to be clear on whether or not he is going to deliver on this promise and if he is, when?”