Cork North Central TD Billy Kelleher is accusing the Government of ignoring the housing crisis. The most recent figures reveal that there are almost 8,000 people in Cork city on a social housing waiting list, while thousands of others are being crippled by high rents.
“This crisis is spiralling out of control with the numbers of people looking for local authority housing on the rise. Large tax increases, cuts to social welfare and huge rent hikes are making it increasingly more difficult for families to stay in their rented homes and is forcing them onto waiting lists”, commented Deputy Kelleher.
“The situation in Cork is being compounded by the fact that the Government has been so slow to transfer NAMA properties over to the local authority. Cork City Council has identified 202 NAMA units as being suitable for use as social housing. However, to date, only 55 have been transferred over. Almost three quarters of these homes are lying idle across the city. It’s completely unacceptable that families are expected to wait for months, or even years for a suitable home, when there are almost 150 viable units sitting empty in the city.
The Cork North Central Deputy added, “This crisis has not come without warning, but the Government has decided to sit back and do nothing about it. The Government’s own advisory body, the Housing Agency, as recently as last week, warned of the huge gaps in housing stock. It maintains that almost 80,000 residential housing units are needed by 2018, and the growing demand in Cork means that up to 1500 units will be needed every year in the city and suburbs from then on.
“In 2011, the Government announced a new housing policy but has failed to implement any real measures to address the situation. In the meantime a property bubble appears to be emerging again, with first time buyers and families struggling to find suitable homes at manageable prices. However, these homes are becoming ever more unobtainable due to the high demand and lack of supply.
“The Government’s approach to this crisis to date has been utterly lack lustre. The Minister needs to follow through on her promise and outline the Government’s plans for dealing with the housing situation clearly. The longer this situation is dragged out, the more serious the crisis becomes.”