• Nearly 43,000 people on Dublin City Council waiting list
  • Homeless Budget to DCC short €18 million
  • Traveller Acommodation Programe budget cut by 90%
  • New Part V legislation will lead to further privatisation of social housing

As the Dail goes into recess, the housing crisis continues to escalate. In a statement today, housing campaigners pledged to gather as they return in September to demand an emergency council house building programme, an end to the reliance on private developers and landlords to deliver houses for those in need and immediate rent controls.

Last week the Urban Regeneration and Housing Bill went through the Dail, which will lead to further reliance on private developers to deliver social housing. This bill included the new Part V legislation which will now allow developers to lease housing to councils rather than ensuring that 10% of their developments go to secure permanent council housing.

On Tuesday new figures from Dublin City Council showed the highest ever number of people on the housing waiting list – nearly 43,000, including 16,500 children.

 Last week Dublin City councillors heard that there was an €18 million shortfall in the funding for the Homeless Agency and that the Traveller Accommodation Programme has been cut by 90% since last programme.

rbbRichard Boyd Barrett TD for People Before Profit said: “It is an utter disgrace that despite announcement after announcement by Minister Kelly making grand promises to tackle the housing crisis, the reality is the housing and homelessness crisis is getting worse on a daily basis. The Dail is now going into recess but the housing lists will continue to spiral and local authorities are running out of money to refurbish houses for those in need.   So when the Dail returns in September the crisis will be worse not better.

To add insult to injury Minister Kelly’s last bill, the Urban Regeneration and Housing Bill, includes measures that will allow developers to make vast profits out of leasing social housing to council’s instead of transferring those houses into the ownership of local authorities.  So if housing applicants ever are allocated a house, which is doubtful, it will not be a council house, it will not be permanent and they will continue to be subject to the whim of private landlords.

Fr.-McVerryPeter Mc Verry (Veteran Housing campaigner) said: “Housing and homelessness are the biggest social problems in Ireland today.  Both the number of people on the social housing waiting lists, and the number of homeless people, are rising every month.  Today we have whole families being told there is no accommodation available for them.  But this crisis is not being adequately addressed, nor does it even seem to be recognised.  The failure to increase the Rent Supplement is the primary cause of the increasing numbers of homeless families today; disused dwellings are lying empty as Dublin City Council have run out of money to bring the “voids” back into use; the failure to ensure that those in mortgage arrears are protected from eviction, all add up to a potential nightmare for a Government seeking election in seven or eight months time.”

Cllr Brid Smith (Dublin City Council): “The recent figure of 43,000 people waiting for houses in Dublin is utterly shocking, and probably even more shocking is the fact that 750 new applications have been received by DCC each month for the last months.  This is unprecedented in the history of the state and shows that despite all the great fanfare around Minister Kelly’s repeated announcements of his Social Housing Strategy and his €3 billion in funding, the reality is nothing is changing and the crisis is just getting worse.

Last week DCC received a letter from the Minister announcing that the Homeless Agency would only be receiving €38 million rather than the €55 million that is needed to keep the service going.  This shortfall of €18 million has a knock on effect and the council have now run out of money to bring boarded up houses back into use.

We are calling on the Minister to release the €18 million before the recess.

It has also, just become clear that the Traveller Accommodation Programme in DCC has also been cut by 90%in line with all the other cuts to Traveller supports.

Roisin Murphy (Women’s Aid) said:  “The current housing crisis is putting lives of women fleeing domestic violence at risk. The lack of affordable and social housing, coupled with the dearth of affordable rental properties in the greater Dublin area has left women with no options but to stay in an abusive relationship.

Some women in abusive relationships were forced to sleep in cars, others, sometimes sleeping on the floors and sofas at the home of family & friends as they seek safety from violence. The housing crisis is even more serious for victims of domestic violence because women are unable to leave the family home for financial or other reasons. In Jan of this year Safe Ireland which runs a national network of more than 40 services for victims of domestic violence said its 21 emergency shelters are full to capacity due to the lack of housing available to women fleeing domestic violence.”