Sinn Féin Dáil motion on social housing shortage launched

February 15, 2013

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson, Dessie Ellis TD, has called on the Minister for Housing to take immediate action to deal with the continuing crisis in social housing with nearly 100,000 people on the state’s housing waiting lists and deteriorating public housing leading to health concerns.

His made his comments as he and finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty TD, launched the Sinn Féin motion, to be tabled next week in the Dáil, dealing with the shortage in social housing and mortgage distress.

Deputy Ellis continued:

“This motion is an important step in raising the many problems that continue in social housing in this state and takes the government to task on their inaction in dealing with the crisis.

“There are 98,000 households on waiting lists for Local Authority Housing in this state. These people are living in cramped unsuitable conditions and in the current system will be waiting a very long time to be housed appropriately.

“There are 94,000 people receiving Rent Supplement and 23,000 in the Rental Accommodation Scheme. These cost the state nearly half a billion euro a year but bring us no closer to a long-term sustainable provision of housing.

“The government’s only proposal has been to pass responsibility for social housing onto the private market and give greater workload to the overburdened voluntary sector. They have hailed social leasing from NAMA as a great solution but it will cost the state considerably and has only delivered 179 homes in three years.

“We need the state to make a real commitment to providing social housing and recognising the people’s right to housing. We have outlined already how funding could be secured for the building of thousands of homes which would create employment and give a decent home to tens of thousands of people. The minister must listen to our proposals and treat the issue with the seriousness it deserves.

“Funding is laid out in our Jobs Creation document released late last year.”

Over three years of NAMA and just 179 homes delivered for social housing – Ellis

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has described progress on social housing from NAMA properties as very disappointing. He made his comments in response to a parliamentary question which found that just 179 homes have been delivered for social housing despite NAMA being in existence since late 2009 and its many commitments to providing a social dividend.

Deputy Ellis continued;

“This just isn’t good enough. I welcomed the renewed commitment by NAMA last year to provide 3,949 units for use for social housing but so little has been delivered in a time when housing waiting lists are bursting at the seams and people are finding it harder to keep their home or to afford spiralling rents.

“The social lease system pursued by the government is a lucrative one for developers within NAMA who will have their properties’ rents hassle free and will be returned their properties once the lease ends. These are developers who have been bailed out by the people already and are being fed by NAMA but have repaid nothing in the way of social dividend.

“Thousands of NAMA units which could be new homes for people who have been waiting years are lying idle. The Minister for Housing and the department need to get tough with developers and NAMA and to ensure this is delivered on soon. We cannot let another year go by where NAMA houses only a handful of people. We have waited long enough.

“The minister must also pave the way to allow local authorities to take over unfinished estates which have no bond and are in the control of a financial institution or NAMA so that these sites can be completed and people can finally be housed. This is all about the political will to provide much needed housing, either the government has it or it doesn’t.”