Dáil debates

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Housing for All Update: Statements (Resumed)


7:40 pm

Photo of Carol NolanCarol Nolan (Laois-Offaly, Independent) | Oireachtas source

We have a very serious situation. We are hearing about Housing for All but we are not seeing delivery for all. We have more and more homeless people. Without a doubt, there are more homeless people in my home county of Offaly and, indeed, in neighbouring County Laois. It is a very worrying trend. People are at their wit's end. In addition to that problem, many young people and couples who work hard and go to college are locked out of the housing market completely because there are not enough affordable housing schemes.

It is a considerable issue that needs to be tackled head-on. I am very concerned that we have approximately 495 AHBs in the country and, last year alone, €500 million was spent on them. Are they delivering? It would appear that they are falling far short. I recognise the good work of some AHBs but not enough work is being done. Billions of euro have been spent on these bodies in the past number of years, yet we are not seeing the delivery that should be equivalent to that. I ask the Minister to ensure that a value-for-money review is carried out immediately because I am very concerned that taxpayers' money is being wasted here and we are not seeing delivery. I call that waste. It is no way for a prudent government or a government that should be prudent with finances to behave.

Only five counties were included in the changes to income thresholds. County Offaly was left out and I am concerned about that. I welcome that County Laois was included but it is unfair to have certain counties excluded from the changes in income threshold. The average rent is €1,200 in County Offaly. Who can afford to pay that, in this day and age, with rising electricity costs and people deciding between buying food or fuel? That is the harsh reality. I ask the Minister to take on board what I have asked him, especially with regard to the value-for-money review of AHBs.


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