Fianna Fáil candidate for Dublin Fingal Senator Darragh O’Brien has criticised the Government for not tackling the housing crisis and accused them of once again placing spin above substance.
The party’s Dublin spokesperson pointed out that Fine Gael and Labour have launched their housing policy several times but have yet to deliver any units on the ground. The problem is particularly acute in Fingal where there are over 9,000 households on the housing list, but only two social houses were built between 2011 and 2014.
“Family homelessness is at crisis levels. According to Freedom of Information replies the waiting times on the social housing lists from each local authority reveal that most social housing applicants have been on the list for fewer than five years with most on the list between two to three years – when the current Government was in power.
“After four years of slashing investment in homes this Government is now reliant on fantasy figures to try to overcome a crisis of its own creation. In contrast Fianna Fáil has a plan to spend €4.5bn to build 45,000 units by 2021.
“Overall there are over 9,000 households on the social housing waiting list in Fingal County Council (3% total Households; approximately 9% of total population), this represents a massive 47% increase in the waiting list since 2013. Based on an average household size of 3 this means there is about 25,700 persons on the waiting list.
“The €18.97 million allocation promised to Fingal has targeted a build of 85 housing units built over 3 years, leading to an estimated reduction of less than 2% in the social housing waiting list. However this is only assuming that there is no increase in the waiting list in the interim, which – given the scale of expected home repossessions (about 25,000 nationally) – is very unlikely.
“Rent supplement levels are totally inadequate to find basic accommodation in the private rental market in Fingal especially in urban areas, according to the latest Daft Rental Report (Q2, 2015).
“For a couple with one child on rent supplement, looking for a 2 bed house or apartment, the maximum rent ceiling is € 850 whereas average rent is € 1191, a -40% shortfall.
“Despite the fact that allowable rent supplement limits are on average 20% below market rent prices, Minster Burton refused the raise these limits, citing the erroneous argument that this will lead to a further increase in rental prices.
“With this inaction, the government is attempting to use the destitution and homelessness of families (those unable to afford rent due to inadequate supplement levels) as a means of stabilising rents. Rent supplement is meant as an anti-poverty measure, its purpose is not to attempt to regulate the private rental market,” warned Senator O’Brien.