Fianna Fáil TD and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness, John Curran has said tackling the shortage of housing and the related problem of homelessness constitutes one of the greatest challenges the country faces.

Speaking in the Dáil while formally introducing the final report, Deputy Curran said, “The number of homeless households has more than doubled in the past 12 months. There were just 3,082 rental properties on the market nationwide at the beginning of May 2016, the lowest number on record, with just 1,100 properties available to rent in Dublin. There was an increase of 9.3% in the average rent nationwide in the year to March 2016. Average rent nationwide has risen 34% since the lowest point in 2014. It is therefore apparent that the shortage of housing and the related problem of homelessness constitute one of the greatest challenges the country faces.

“The factors contributing to the housing crisis are diverse, deep-rooted and affect a variety of sectors, including central and local government, the financial sector, the building industry, the private rented sector and the voluntary sector. The issues involved are complex and inter-linked. Most critically, the problems are causing severe hardship and distress to large numbers of households and families across the country.

“The measures recommended in this report to effectively respond to the crisis include, increasing social housing stock by at least 50,000 units, an average of 10,000 per year, through a programme of acquisition, refurbishment; the establishment of a National Housing Procurement Agency and a realistic plan to help families in mortgage arrears.

“It is essential that all bodies and stakeholders involved assume responsibility and co-operate fully and generously with the full recommendations of this report in responding to this immense national challenge. Major resources are now required to realise the goals as set out by the committee.”