Galway East Deputy Michael Kitt has called on the Government to provide support to the St Vincent de Paul voluntary housing project at Ozanam House in Ballinasloe.
The Fianna Fáil Deputy raised a special debate in the Dáil this week on the social housing crisis, which he says is escalating out of control. He told the Minister for Housing Jan O’Sullivan that social housing waiting lists are unsustainable, as many people in financial difficulty are unable to pay their bills and are priced out of the rental market.
“There are 100,000 people on the waiting list for social housing. Housing construction has fallen to critically low levels, rents are increasing month on month and the process of NAMA housing being transferred to local authorities is far too slow. The result is that many people are being left with simply nowhere to live,” said Deputy Kitt.
“There are a number of local voluntary housing projects are attempting to fill the gap and combat the increasing level of homelessness. In the absence of any other decisive action, the Government needs to support these voluntary projects.
“I have raised the case of the St. Vincent de Paul project at Ozanam House in Ballinasloe on a number of occasions. It’s one of many projects that requires funding to proceed to the next stage. At the moment, Ballinasloe does not have any housing for the elderly. Compare this to Tuam, where the Clúid has a successful housing project mostly for older people.
“It’s crucial that the Ballinasloe project gets the State funding it needs to allow it to progress to the next stage. Local authorities have another two weeks to submit their prioritised lists of capital assistance projects. I am appealing to the Government to give this project real consideration.
“Many older people are feeling the effects of a combination of social welfare cutbacks and increased rents. Homelessness will continue if we do not tackle the issue. This Government promised that it would deal with homelessness once and for all by 2016, but little or nothing has been done to date to meet that target.”