New figures obtained by Fianna Fáil have revealed a surge of 45% in social housing waiting lists across the country in less than two years.
The party submitted Freedom of Information requests to each local authority across the country to obtain the most up to date figures on social housing waiting lists. The figures returned reveal that the Government has grossly underplayed the extent of the housing crisis. The official government figure state that there are 89,000 people on waiting lists. However data revealed to Fianna Fail now shows that this has exploded by 45% to over 130,000 households.
All official figures quoted by the Government on social housing waiting lists are from 2013, and are therefore two years old. The documents received by Fianna Fáil show that since then, local authorities across the country have seen a massive increase in demand for social housing. Over that period a number of authorities have witnessed their waiting list double. The old 2013 figures were used as the basis of their construction projections for their Social Housing 2020 strategy.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment and Local Government Barry Cowen TD has described the secret surge as ‘shocking’.
“Minister Kelly claims that he has the housing crisis under control. However these figures reveal that the crisis is far worse than we imagined. The government is significantly understating the extent of the crisis, using figures that are actually two years out of date. Not only have the public and the Dáil been misled, housing charities and those working on the ground to help the homeless have also been given out of date information.
“The government has to start facing up to the reality of the housing emergency. Up until the end of 2014 it only built 1,252 new units, compared to 15,000 units built between 2007-2010. This is the primary cause of this emergency. We have to start getting to grips with it by building homes that families want to live in. Fianna Fáil is proposing a new national housing roadmap to build 150,000 new homes by 2021 including 45,000 social housing units. I am urging the Government to give strong consideration to our fully costed plans,” said Deputy Cowen.
The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy commented, “The most worrying aspect of these figures is the surge in the number of young children and families that have nowhere to call home. It is highly irresponsible of the Government to attempt to downplay the extent of this crisis.
“Any public representative will tell you that housing has become the single biggest issue at their constituency clinics. Every week we hear extremely upsetting stories about families who have literally nowhere to go, and children cooped up in totally unsuitable emergency accommodation that is certainly impacting their development in the long-term. It has been clear to us for some time that the situation was an awful lot worse than the Government was attempting to portray. These shocking figures should be wake-up call in government buildings,” said Deputy Troy.