Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Dessie Ellis TD has called on the government and local authorities to stop their offensive against social housing and to make serious efforts to develop a fit for purpose public housing system. He made his comments in light of the practice of Dublin City Council of removing people in the Rental Accommodation Scheme from its housing waiting list.
Deputy Ellis continued;
“The Tánaiste today incorrectly said that this was not happening in every case. The local authorities are removing people from the waiting lists if they are on RAS or going on to RAS which does not solve the housing crisis but does conceal the extent of the problem.
“The council and the government are attempting to make local authority housing a thing of the past. They have sought through every measure of recent memory to either deplete or damage the social housing stock with sell off schemes, no attempt to replenish and the continued refusal to properly address long running maintenance and repair issues.
“The council now removes those housed with private landlords through RAS from their waiting lists. This is a further sign of their offensive. The aim is to make local authority housing only available to the most in need and force everyone else to seek housing in the private market. This is not good for local authorities or the quality of housing.
“RAS, Rent supplement and other methods of subsidising private housing were not a solution but really an emergency measure. They have become less secure methods as funding has been cut and rents have gone up. Rent supplement perpetuates the poverty trap. Landlords can decide to sell the RAS accommodation in the middle of the tenancy period. Security is essential for providing good housing and this is not available through these measures.
“The long term solution is a viable public housing stock with mixed and secure tenure. This will allow communities to develop and people to step out of the cycle of poverty as well as bringing much needed funds to local government.”