Social Justice Ireland's Submission on a Right to Housing

Posted on Friday, 2 September 2022
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Social Justice Ireland welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the consultation process on a referendum on a Right to Housing. We believe strongly in the importance of developing a rights-based approach to social, economic, environmental, and cultural policy. Such an approach would go a long way towards addressing the inequality Ireland has been experiencing and should be at the heart of the development model for a just society.

Ireland has been in the midst of a housing and homelessness crisis for almost a decade. The scale and severity of the economic collapse in 2008 saw Ireland all but abandon capital housing projects, particularly in the areas of social and affordable housing. The replacement of social housing delivery with “social housing solutions” saw an exponential increase in the number of social housing households accommodated in the private rented sector. This, in part, led to increases in rent costs for tenant households and the development of a market in social housing investment, which drove up house prices generally. Added to that, the mortgage arrears crisis of the mid-2010s, the legacy of which is still being felt today, and we see the number of homeless people remain stubbornly high. And that’s just the official data. There is currently no mechanism for counting the real number of homeless people, the number of households who need additional social housing supports.

Access to adequate housing is a fundamental human right. Without proper shelter it is virtually impossible to participate fully in society, to live a life with dignity, or to protect ones health and personal safety. In its Programme for Government (2020), the Government committed to “securing good livelihoods from our land and housing for all…”. Holding a referendum on the right to housing would provide a clear indication that Government intends to keep this commitment.

Read our full submission HERE.