Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Environment and Local Government Barry Cowen says the housing policies being pursued by Minister Alan Kelly will exacerbate the housing emergency in the months ahead.
Deputy Cowen pointed out that Minister Kelly’s social housing strategy is almost entirely reliant on leasing housing units from the lower end of the private rental market.
“Everyone understands that increasing the supply of new homes, both social and private, is the key to solving the housing crisis. However Minister Kelly is refusing to increase the supply of new build homes. Instead he is focusing on taking properties away from the private rental market in order to massage his figures in advance of the election,” explained Deputy Cowen.
“72% of the new social housing units made available this year were leased or bought from the private market. This is a misguided strategy as it is decreasing the number of homes available to rent on the private market which is exacerbating the housing supply problem.
“Minister Kelly is squeezing housing supply in the private market, especially at the lower end of the private rental market. This is making it harder for people to find suitable accommodation which is in turn leading to further rent increases. Ultimately it is forcing more people onto housing waiting lists.
“Minister Kelly took almost 10,000 homes out of the private housing market in 2015 alone. To put this into perspective, there were less than 10,000 new homes constructed in the private market in 2015.
“The only new homes made available to the market under the Minister’s strategy are the paltry 28 new social homes that were constructed by Local Authorities, the 218 new homes completed by voluntary housing associations and the 2,700 local authority homes that were refurbished after years of inaction.
“By not enhancing local authority housing stock, this short-term strategy is building up future supply problems as well as exacerbating the housing supply at present in the private rental market”.