Fianna Fáil has published a National Housing Strategy that would help address the serious shortage of available housing units and the record numbers waiting on social housing lists.
The policy, published today by the party’s Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen, aims to increase the housing stock, boost employment in the construction sector, dramatically speed up the transfer of vacant NAMA units for social housing and make it easier for local authority tenants to buy their own homes.
Deputy Cowen explained, “The housing supply is under huge pressure due to the collapse of the construction sector. We simply do not have enough family homes in the right locations to cater for demand. A vicious combination of harsh social welfare cuts and escalating rents has driven more and more people onto social housing waiting lists and has significantly increased the level of homelessness.
“At the moment Ireland is failing in its duty to provide all citizens with their basic right to a home. With an alarming 100,000 households on the social housing waiting lists and no end in sight to these spiralling numbers, it’s clear that significant intervention is needed to help families who are trapped in homelessness and help first time buyers to find a home,” said Deputy Cowen.
The Fianna Fáil proposals include:
- A new Home Building Programme drawn up by the Department of Environment in conjunction with each local authority;
- Part V Teams to ensure that 20% of all new developments are used for social housing;
- The development of the housing association sector, to ensure that housing associations have access to credit and maintain the highest standards of delivery;
- The establishment of NAMA transfer units at each local authority;
The implementation of Tenant Purchase Schemes to empower families to buy their own homes;
- The Vacant Home Refurbishment Scheme to open up the large number of vacant homes to families on social housing waiting lists;
- Development plans to facilitate the responsible construction of homes where sustainable demand is confirmed;
- The establishment of a National Database of rogue developers to inform planning decisions;
- The establishment of a National Planning Portal so all citizens can access planning information in each local authority; and
The reintroduction of Housing Adaption Grants to allow older people and people with disabilities to live independently at home.