Government’s action plan falls well short of addressing the needs of the families-Ellis

Sinn Fein’s Dessie Ellis spoke in the Dáil last night and addressed the launch of the government’s action plan which he said falls well short of addressing the needs of the families that are affected most by the housing crisis. The Dublin North West TD said, “There will be no solution to the housing crisis without a social aspect; there will be no solution without state intervention. The action plan for housing and homelessness launched yesterday is a case in point. There are some good points but the plan is very conservative in its outlook and where time is taken to expand on plans they do not add up or are vague or misleading. There are a number of great initiatives in the action plan for supports for families with children in emergency accommodation such as dedicated child support workers; home school community liaison; access to free public transport for school journeys and joined up supports between education, health and TULSA for homeless families among others. Important interventions to safeguard families in emergency accommodation but it is not clear how this will be funded, will the relevant departments and bodies be expected to source this funding from their own budgets or will it be provided from somewhere else. You know as well as I do that funding will be the difference here.”
Deputy Ellis continued “The plan also allows for streamlining planning processes for larger private housing developments. The proposal is for developments with over 100 houses are referred straight to an Bord Pleanála therefore bypassing the local council process which was valuable for community input. Given that big developments will have the biggest impact on a local community removing the local consultation part of the planning process would be a retrograde step. Part of the local accountability in planning comes after pre-planning consultations at local level and often will enhance or community proof big developments. Something has to be done as in the month of June once again our homeless families’ numbers have increased; at the end of the month we had 1078 families homeless that includes 2206 children. This problem is getting worse by the week and this government is not dealing with the issues and the plan launched yesterday is not going to solve this problem in the short, medium or long term.”

Rapid Housing Build- ‘not realistic’ Ellis

Sinn Féin junior Housing spokesperson Deputy Dessie Ellis said today that the reliance on Rapid Housing Build in Minister Simon Coveney’s action plan on housing is unrealistic given the difficulties that the Government has had to date with similar builds on a smaller scale.

The Dublin North-West TD said:

“Minister Coveney’s action plan on housing and homelessness launched today is unclear in sections on how he will actually deal with the housing crisis. The latest Government figures in the action plan showed that in May there were 1054 families homeless across the state; last month saw an increase in these figures.

“These plans to deal with this crisis in the action plan for housing and homelessness are based in part on the rapid build housing plan. Notwithstanding the unrealistic targets set for completion of the rapid housing build, the plan is also unclear on if the tenants moved into these rapid housing units are there on a temporary or permanent basis. Adding to that uncertainty is the number of finished units in three years can be seen as unrealistic, especially compared to experience of the previous plan.

“The action plan today outlines how 1500 rapid housing units will be finished by 2018. We have seen some of this before as there was a rapid-delivery housing programme rolled out in October 2015 for homeless families then residing in hotels and B&B’s by Alan Kelly, which was to deliver 500 units by the end of this year.

“However, in an answer to a Parliamentary Question Minister Coveney told me last month that out of the 500 promised, 22 were actually built so far, with the possibility of 171 of being finished by the end of the year. In realistic terms, the completion of 1500 in three years has to be taken with a pinch of salt. At this moment, we are nowhere near completing the previous plan for rapid build housing and that’s before even we start this new one.”