Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Barry Cowen says major resources are needed to realise the goals as set out in the newly published report by the Dáil Committee on Housing and Homelessness and that a step change is needed in terms of the energy and focus applied to the problem.
The committee, which was chaired by Fianna Fáil Dublin Mid-West TD John Curran, outlines a wide range of measures to tackle the housing crisis. These include a proposal to build 50,000 new social housing units, measures to achieve rent certainty and a realistic plan to help families in mortgage arrears.
Deputy Cowen said, “Achieving the target of 50,000 new social housing units will require approximately €2.4bn in additional spending over the next 4 years. The Government needs to start prioritising spending above and beyond the commitments made through the previous Social Housing 2020 Strategy. Off balance sheet spending will have to be utilized to achieve this. Fianna Fáil prioritised spending on housing in our manifesto and we will continue to press the Government to release the necessary funding to adequately address the housing crisis.
“Funding is not the only problem the Government needs to overcome. Outstanding problems with the planning process must be tackled to help kick start housing construction. Fianna Fáil will be bringing forward robust legislation based on the proposals contained in this report to achieve this. Our legislation will focus on developing strategic infrastructure to accelerate housing development and help avoid planning bottlenecks.
“The Government must also establish the Housing Procurement Agency without delay as recommended in the report. This agency will help cut through the complexity of multiple agencies, draw down finance and ensure homes are built and targets are met.
“This report needs to be used by the Government as the blueprint for shaping its new housing policies across the public, private and rental sector. It cannot be allowed gather dust on a shelf considering the current homelessness crisis, the difficulties young people have in buying their own home and social housing waiting lists which are spiralling out of control. We must see major investment and urgent legislative action to deal with what is a major housing crisis. The time for ‘business as usual’ is long gone and we need to see a major step change in terms of the energy and focus applied by Government to this crisis,” concluded Deputy Cowen.