Promise to tackle homelessness “utterly worthless and infuriating” from a government who promised to end homelessness by 2016 and instead created country’s  worst ever housing and homelessness crisis

Despite all the bluster the government’s new plan and promises to deal with crisis fundamentally flawed and incompetent

National Right2Water demo Dublin 21/03/2015 © Paula GeraghtyIn a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, for the People Before Profit Alliance has said Minister Howlin’s statement today that tackling homelessness will be a priority for the Fine Gael/Labour coalition if returned to office was “utterly worthless and infuriating.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett pointed out that, “five years ago in the programme for government, the same coalition promised to end homelessness by 2016 and instead helped generate the worst housing and homelessness crisis in living memory.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett said, that “every action the government had taken during its term of office in relation to rents, social housing, the property market and social welfare had worsened the crisis.”

 “The decision to cease direct social housing construction in 2011; the decision to cut rent allowance and reduce rent allowance caps; the decision to sell off most of NAMA’s assets to vulture funds and speculators; the decision to cut job seekers allowance for young people; the decision to cut lone parents payments – all of these decisions have contributed directly to creating the disastrous crisis we have today. ”

Deputy Boyd Barrett, who has repeatedly warned inside and outside of the Dáil since 2011 that government policy would produce a housing crisis, said that the government’s latest plans in the Housing 2020 strategy, “despite all the bluster” would “still not tackle the housing crisis because they are overwhelmingly dependent on private developers and landlords to deliver social housing. This simply will not happen. In fact, incentivising private landlords and developers is precisely what caused the property bubble and will guarantee that the housing and homelessness crisis gets worse.”

“Put simply, private landlords and developers are not in the business of providing ‘not for profit’ housing, which is what social housing is. It’s a ridiculous oxymoron to suggest people whose business is to make profit from housing and renting are going to provide ‘not for profit’ housing. Yet this is the government’s strategy!”

“What is needed and what we have been saying for a full five years but have been totally ignored by this government is an emergency programme of direct council house construction, the transfer of NAMA property to the council’s, rent controls and the raising of rent allowance caps. Nothing else will even begin to tackle this problem.”

“This government will never do what is necessary because they are completely hostage to the banks, speculators, developers and landlords – all of whom are making a fortune from the housing crisis.”