Category: Housing Campaign

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Sickening news this morning that homeless figures have increased yet again to over 7000 (including 2500 children). When I raised it with the Minister – all we get is the same old platitudes which will mean the next figures will be another increase! We need the 50,000 empty homes in cities across Ireland to be taken over by the councils immediately, we need this government to stop relying on the private landlords to deliver social housing and we need an emergency programme to build council houses. In Dun Laoghaire last year there were only 54 actual council houses with permanent tenancies were built and meanwhile over 500 new applications were received by the council. This madness has to stop.

People Before Profit host public meeting to plan campaign for more local authority housing on public and NAMA development sites in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, as housing and homelessness continues to spiral out of control.

housing-mtg-oct-2016Coveney Housing plan will not deliver urgently needed council housing, will cost the state a fortune, and will effectively privatise public land unless radically changed , says PBP TD.

Dun Laghaire-Rathdown is being “socially cleansed” as a result of the failure to provide council housing and the effective privatisation of the entire housing sector in the area.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD for the People Before Profit Alliance, along with local councillors, Melisa Halpin, Hugh Lewis and Dave O Keefe, will host a public meeting tonight, Monday Oct 24th at 8pm in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, to plan a campaign calling for a far higher proportion of local authority housing on public land and NAMA sites currently or soon to be developed in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

The public meeting has been called against the background of the waiting list for council housing in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown now reaching 16 years or more and a dramatic rise in rents in the area. Rents in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown now among the highest in the entire country and are completely unaffordable for those on low and even middle incomes.

The meeting will specifically call for the current development on the former Dun Laoghaire Golf Club site, the soon to be developed Cherrywood Strategic development Zone (SDZ), and the former Shanganagh Prison site to have a far higher proportion of local authority housing than is currently envisaged under the Coveney, Rebuilding Ireland plan.

According to People Before Profit, unless current plans are radically changed, these large development sites, which have the potential to solve the social and affordable housing crisis in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, will deliver a “pathetically small number of council houses and ensure the crisis continues and worsens across the entire county.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett said a process of “social cleansing is already well underway in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, with less well-off younger families and individuals, being driven out of the area by the totally unaffordable cost of accommodation and the disastrous lack of local authority housing stock.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett said, This process of social cleansing in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown will accelerate over the coming number of years because of the catastrophic failure to provide council housing and the utterly unaffordable level of private rents in the area.” 

Deputy Boyd Barrett concluded:  “The Convey plan simply will not work to solve the country’s dire housing and homelessness emergency because it depends utterly on the private market to deliver the majority of the hoped for social housing through HAP’s, RAS, Leasing and Public private partnership schemes. 

If this is true in the country at large, it’s doubly and trebly true in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown because rents and house prices are multiples of what they are in most other parts of the country.  

All Coveney’s plans are based on sourcing social and affordable housing from private developers at a discount on the market price, but the market price of rents and purchasing in this area are so far out in the stratosphere, that even at a discount, it will still be totally unaffordable.  

Against this background, the plan, under Rebuilding Ireland, to allow private developers to dominate the development of these three large sites at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club, Cherrywood and Shanganagh is total insanity. 

The level of human misery and suffering being experienced by families and children from low income households in this area is simply unbearable. People think because some wealthy people live in this area that somehow everybody is better off. In reality, for those on social welfare or low wages, it is actually much worse to be without housing here because the cost of accommodation is so much higher. You don’t get higher social welfare or a higher minimum wage because you’re from Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown. The consequence is that families and communities, that have lived here for generations and who’s children go to school here, are being ripped apart and driven out of the area. 

We are determined to fight the social cleansing of our area and demand that more of these development sites are used for actual local authority housing, rather than being handed over to private developers.” 

cllrjohnlyonsAhead of this evening’s meeting of Dublin City Council, Cllr John Lyons, on behalf of the People Before Profit Alliance, has submitted an emergency motion in response to a proposal from city officials to sell on the private owner-occupier market 44 residential units in the New Priory development (formerly Priory Hall), Donaghmede, Dublin 13, units currently owned by Dublin City Council .

Cllr Lyons’s motion calls on the council’s elected representatives to reject the management’s proposal to sell the 44 units in Phase 1 of the New Priory development and instead allocate those units to the families, couples and single people on the local area housing list, the longest in the city of Dublin.

Speaking ahead of this evening’s meeting, Cllr Lyons, who represents the Donaghmede area, said: “It is quite clear to me that this proposal to sell on the private market residential units currently owned by Dublin City Council is yet another indicator that those at both local and national government level have no desire to end the crisis in housing and homelessness that the people of this city are experiencing.”

“Our housing list is the longest it has ever been, with over 22,000 applicants, representing some 44,000 people, struggling with high rents in the private sector and overcrowded conditions in the homes of family and friends as they wait years for the national and local authorities to build new houses. The crisis of homelessness is reaching ever more dire proportions with each passing month, currently in Dublin over 2,000 children within 1,000 families are living in emergency accommodation.”

“We in People Before Profit Alliance believe that the housing and homelessness crisis will only be resolved when the state intervenes,” Cllr Lyons continued. “A national public housing construction programme is the only way to address the chronic shortage of housing across the county, as the private market isn’t interested unless huge profits can be made.

“Alongside the public provision of thousands of new homes for those on housing lists across the city and country must come the raising of the income thresholds for social housing eligibility, to allow those currently earning more than the allowable amounts but unable to purchase a house on the private market have the opportunity to secure a home for themselves and their families.

“On Dublin City Council,” Cllr Lyons concluded, “myself and my fellow People Before Profit councillors will continue to demand public housing for all who want and need it, and we will continue to oppose any proposal from council officials that seeks to sell-off public lands to private developers and residential units currently in public control on the private market.”

Brid-Smith-2a-241x300Brid Smith TD has expressed her alarm at suggestions that a site that Dublin City council had only recently zoned recreational for the development of a proposed park and children’s playground might instead be used for Rapid Build housing units.

Deputy Smith pointed out that the City council had only recently zoned the site for recreational use after a local community campaign.

That campaign pointed out that the area around the Bridgefoot Street site has one of the highest densities of population in the state with very few public spaces and one of the lowest level of green spaces in the city. Several areas in the immediate catchment are categorised as Very Disadvantaged (The Pobal Index), while the entire area is badly in need of a public space that could encourage community and shared living experiences in a widely diverse and densely housed part of the city.

Deputy Smith said she supported the local community’s campaign and would resist this site being used for Rapid Build Units. “We have a huge housing crisis as result of the actions of developers and financiers and the complete refusal of the state to fund and build proper council and public housing. The same Minister and his colleagues have been in Government for over five years and watched as the state built the lowest level of social housing in its history even as the crisis worsened.

“This proposal is not the solution, nor are the other so called rapid build proposals. Instead of throwing incentives at developers in the hope that we can make them a sufficient profit to build, we need real investment in proper housing for our citizens. We don’t need, and won’t accept that railroading units into already deprived and densely populated areas with no green spaces is any form of a solution. I really fear that this crisis will be used to  fast track planning and bypass any objections. What we need is real funding for proper local authority house building; piecemeal rapid builds or small part V schemes will not solve this crisis”.

Coveney is fast becoming Alan Kelly 2.0

SIMON COVENEYIn a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, of People Before Profit has said the recent housing announcement by Minister Simon Coveney is just a rehashing of the failed, market driven policies that have made the housing crisis worse.

The Ministers announcement for extra funds for servicing land equates to the same failed policies of providing more subsidies for developers and builders. The Minister says that more money is being provided and yet nothing has changed in regards to the housing crisis.

It is now clear that Minister Simon Coveney is fast becoming Alan Kelly 2.0 as his announcements replicate past announcements of former Minister Kelly- all talk and no action.

Mr Boyd Barrett said: “The latest announcement from Housing Minister Simon Coveney has alerted concerns that we have had that this Minister is quickly becoming Alan Kelly 2.0 in that he is rehashing failed and naive policies which will have no effect and will fail to improve the housing crisis in this country. The Minister is also suggesting that local authorities are bypassed in a move that will simply offer a bonanza to private developers and builders in which they would make a killing off publically owned land.

“It is obvious that the recent announcements by Minister Coveney equates to more subsidies for private developers and builders; the very people who caused this crisis in the first place. The current Minister has today announced that funding is not an issue. This is reminiscent of Alan Kelly overtures as Minister for Housing, during which nothing was done to resolve the crisis.

“In 2015, the government built 75 council houses in the whole of the state. This is outrageous and it is clear that 2016 will not be much better.

“The Minister, instead of putting his head in the sand and relying on old failed policies, should take on board our demands for tens of thousands of council houses to be built every year for the next five years at a minimum. If we do not take radical action now and use the state to build council houses, impose rent controls, uses NAMA’s resources to house people and declare a national housing emergency then this crisis is condemned to roll on and on and get worse.”