NAMA leasing is not good deal for state or those in need of housing

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has branded the leasing initiative involved in the release of NAMA units for use as social housing as poor value for money and a scheme which will see the state pay twice for housing it will not keep control of.

He made his comments following the Minister of State for Housing Jan O’Sullivan’s refusal to address these issues and her claims this was a good deal.

Deputy Ellis said:

“I welcome the prospect of the use of NAMA property for social housing but there are a lot of questions to be answered.

“We are paying out nearly half a billion for Rent Supplement and the Rental Accommodation Scheme which add not one housing unit to the stock of the state or voluntary organisations. And now the state wants to pay twice for NAMA units which it will most likely return to the hands of developers through NAMA in the long term.

Sinn Féin Ballymun Representative Noeleen Reilly further added “The state needs to invest in housing. We need more than a short term band aid solution which is only pushing the lack of social housing forward into the future. We need to support voluntary housing in providing homes and start to actually build and buy homes.

“Leasing has been a failure in terms of provision and value. A lease for 11 years, the average currently, costs roughly 66,000 euros while the average cost of purchasing for social housing is 169,000 euros which serves the state for much longer and provides tenants with security.

“We are in the dark on how this use of NAMA units will work and the progress in assessing the units currently being considered for their suitability as housing. We also must provide for people who require single bedroom units which were lacking in previous agreements between NAMA and voluntary housing units despite huge costs.

“The minister must be clear in these issues, she must demand clarity from NAMA and she must work to insure that whatever is done is sustainable and value for money and not yet another bargain for developers at the expense of the public purse and those in need of housing.”

Ellis condemns slow progress on NAMA units

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson, Dessie Ellis TD, has condemned the government for slow progress on delivering social housing from NAMA and the lack of clarity about the process.

He made his comments following a response to a parliamentary question revealing that just under 1,000 of the 2,000 units are suitable and that so far, negotiations are only in progress on 700.

Deputy Ellis continued;

“This is shocking given the absolutely disastrous situation we are looking at in housing in this state.

We have over 100,000 on the waiting list for social housing and a half a billion euro being given to private landlords each year in rent supplement but the government and NAMA seem to be dragging their heels in a scheme that is rapidly looking less and less impressive. These units were heralded as the long sought social dividend by this government back in December but six months on no one has been housed.

Out of the 2,000 units, 697 are now deemed unsuitable and 344 have been taken out of the scheme by the developers NAMA is bailing out. This is not good enough. We need housing now and we need to provide it in a transparent and cost effective way. The government is refusing to give an estimate of cost but it is clear it will be a good pay day for developers.

Another worrying claim is that the government may try to house people in developments deemed unsuitable. They need to be clear on this. Planning for housing has been an utter failure of this state and we must ensure we will not be putting people in isolated or unsuitable conditions despite the immediate need to house people.

I call on the minister to outline clearly to the Dáil how this process is being carried out and to regularly update the public on the delivery of these units and further more genuine social dividends.

The people paid dearly for NAMA and this is not good enough.”