Dáil debates

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Social and Affordable Housing Supply: Motion [Private Members]


9:57 am

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance) | Oireachtas source

I move:

That Dáil Éireann: notes that:
— Housing for All - a New Housing Plan for Ireland is failing to meet its hopelessly inadequate targets to increase the supply of social and affordable housing;

— according to the Parliamentary Budget Office, the most accurate estimate for households with a housing need may be close to 122,000, when you include those on the waiting list and in receipt of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and other housing support payments;

— of the 4,100 affordable and Cost Rental homes promised for 2022, only 325 affordable and 234 Cost Rental homes have been delivered to end of Q2 2022;

— of the 9,000 social homes promised for 2022, only 1,500 have been delivered at the midpoint in 2022;

— homelessness figures have risen in the last year from 8,475 to a record 10,805 people in August, including 3,220 children;

— according to the Government, 2,273 households could have faced eviction over the winter, but that could have been higher if we take into account those who received a termination of tenancy date that was prior to the emergency period as set out in the Residential Tenancies (Deferment of Termination Dates of Certain Tenancies) Bill 2022; and

— according to the Economic and Social Research Institute, the proportion of households eligible for social housing or social housing supports, such as HAP, RAS and leasing, fell from 46.8 per cent in 2011 to 33.9 per cent by 2019, and this has undoubtedly fallen further over the last two years because of the failure of the Government to raise social housing income thresholds;
further notes that:
— the Government has committed to introducing an eviction ban from November 2022 to the end of March 2023;

— many tenants who receive Notices of Termination on grounds of sale are in HAP, RAS or Rent Supplement properties, where the State is already paying the majority of the rent;

— many others who receive Notices of Termination have incomes above the income thresholds for social housing or social housing supports, but are unable to find affordable rental properties or property to purchase;

— according to Census 2022, there are 166,752 vacant homes, excluding holiday homes, across the State, of which 48,387 have been vacant for at least six years;

— there are also an estimated 22,000 derelict sites across the State; and

— sites with full planning permission for 80,000 homes are being held by developers and investors that are not being built on, and delivery of private housing is falling short of targets; and
calls on the Government to:
— use the period of the five-month ban on evictions to pursue, by all means at its disposal, an increase in the provision of social and affordable homes, above the targets set by Housing for All - a New Housing Plan for Ireland;

— introduce a "Use it or Lose it" scheme, whereby vacant and derelict properties and sites that are not activated within six months without reasonable excuse are acquired by the State, if necessary, by means of a compulsory purchase order, and such acquired properties and sites will be developed and made available for social and affordable housing;

— ensure local authorities acquire HAP, RAS, Rent Supplement properties and other rental properties where the tenants are in receipt of a no-fault Notices of Termination on grounds of sale and where that acquisition would secure that home for the tenants;

— ensure that local authorities embark on a pro-active programme of acquiring rental and developer properties that would be suitable for social and affordable housing, above the current Part V requirement;

— increase income thresholds to ensure all households unable to afford private market rents and house prices are eligible for State housing supports;

— impose tax measures to ensure that developers and corporate landlords do not profit from the foregoing acquisition programme; and

— establish a State construction company and, in coordination with local authorities, speedily progress public housing projects, retrofitting and maintenance of public housing, thereby eliminating the long delays that arise from tendering and outsourcing processes, and the risk of public housing projects stalling or collapsing due to withdrawal or non-delivery of contractors or developers.

I cannot believe that the senior Minister is not present for the debate on this motion.


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