In a statement this morning People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett announced a Right 2 Housing conference on Saturday in The Academy Plaza Hotel (Cathal Brugha Street) from 10.30 – 4.00.
The conference will bring together long time housing campaigners including Peter Mc Verry, Eileen Short (Defend Council Housing, East London), Mick O Reilly (Housing Action Campaign 1970’s and Louise Bayliss (SPARK). These campaigners will be joined by Dr Andrew McLaren from the Centre from Urban and Regional Studies in Trinity College and many of those directly affected by the Housing Crisis.
There are currently 100,000 families on the Local Authority waiting lists. Rents are increasing at an average rate of nearly 10% in Dublin which is forcing many low paid families into homeless services. The government’s Housing Strategy 2020 promised to deliver 15,800 units in 2015 – but 13,000 of these are a continuation of the state renting from private landlords. 1000 are existing houses and only 1400 will be actual new council houses.
Fr Peter Mc Verry said: “The new homeless are those who can no longer afford to pay the rising rents demanded and those who are losing their homes through reposssession. They have never been homeless before and never thought they would ever become homeless. the experiene of homelessness is degrading and destroying their lives as it has done for so many other homeless people before them.”
Mick O Reilly (Housing Action Campaign 1970’s) said: “I feel very sad that today in 21st century we are being forced to organise to fight for public housing. In the 1970’s the Housing Action Campaign won a victory along with others in forcing the Government to commit to building public housing. Now we find ourselves having to do this all over again but shockingly, this time round the crisis is even worse. It is vital that we come together to put pressure on the state to take this crisis seriously and and urgently build housing to cater for the 100,000 on the waiting list and those that are homeless.
Dr Andrew McLaren (Centre for urban & Regional Studies TCD) said: “Any predominantly market-based system primarily serves the interests of those with money to pay for it and, of course, those involved in its private-sector supply, who use the system as a vehicle for capital accumulation. Housing is no exception. The ‘housing crisis’ is a reflection of inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth, as is the case the affordability crisis (for some) in accessing health services, education or access to the law.”
Louise Bayliss Single Parents Acting for the Rights of Our Kids (SPARK) said, “The lack of affordable housing, coupled with high childcare costs, has led one parent families being trapped in a social welfare cycle of deprivation and intergenerational poverty. Affordable housing is essential to ensure the economic recovery is felt by all sectors of society and to prevent a further housing price bubble.”
Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “I would encourage everyone who is concerned about housing to come to our conference. There is not only a crisis in the country – it is a national emergency. Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering as a result of this government’s policy of privatising housing through all their rental schemes. Their Housing Strategy 2020 is not only hopelessly inadequate, it is a total mirage. Minister Kelly announced €3.8 billion for housing last October and absolutely nothing has changed for those waiting for housing or facing eviction. We urgently need a campaign along the lines of the Right2Water campaign that can put thousands of people on the streets to demand housing, rent controls and an end to evictions.”