The Housing and homelessness crisis is spiraling out of control. It affects not only the most vulnerable, but hundreds of thousands of working people and students, who simply cannot afford rents and house prices.
• Seven people died sleeping on the streets before Christmas
• There are now 8000 people, including 3000 children in emergency accommodation
• There are currently 100,000 families on housing waiting lists, waiting up to 15 years.
• Rents and property prices have risen over 60% in recent years
- Average rent for a three bed house in Dun Laoghaire is now well over €2200 per month
• Average house prices in Dun Laoghaire is now nearly €600,000
• There are 70,000 people still in mortgage arrears that face the possible loss of their home.
Why is this happening?
In government, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Labour Party completely handed over control of housing to property speculators, vulture funds and private landlords.
These parties effectively stopped building council housing over recent years – last year, for example there were only 328 Council houses built and there is no affordable housing scheme.
NAMA was allowed to sell off €40 billion worth of property assets to vulture funds and speculators who are now increasing rents and property prices to unaffordable levels and evicting people who can’t pay.
The government are now planning to partially privatise 800 publicly owned sites instead of using that land for public and affordable housing only.
How can we solve the housing crisis? We must demand:
• The government build at least 20,000 council houses a year for the next 5 years on publicly owned land.
• There are 180,000 empty properties in the country – these must be used to house people.
• Stop all economic evictions and re-possessions & introduce real rent controls
In Dún Laoghaire, two development sites alone, at Cherrywood and Shanganagh could solve the housing crisis. Instead at Cherrywood, which was NAMA land and where there will be 8000 new homes, the government is going to allow private developers to sell most of these units at full market price – which will be totally unaffordable for most people.
In Shanganagh we must demand that this council owned site provides social and affordable housing but we also need to ensure that the whole site remains in public ownership providing this kind of housing into the future.
We must urgently build a movement to put the government under pressure to provide the housing needed. Come to our meeting on 22 Jan to discuss how we can do this.