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.”