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Policy issues concerning Housing

Government needs to move away from reliance on the private rented sector to provide solutions to Ireland's housing crisis.  This was echoed by the OECD last week in their recommendation that Ireland seek longer-term solutions that prioritise housing supply.  Cost-rental may provide one such public housing solution which allows the State to recover the cost of housing provision while providing security of rent for tenants currently experiencing double-digit rent inflation.

In the most recent, and high-profile, mortgage sale, Permanent TSB this week announced its intention to sell 14,000 non-performing mortgage loans.  Some commentators have suggested that, instead of selling these loans, that individual borrowers be allowed to ‘make a deal’ with the lender to buy the loan at the intended sale price.  However, this solution is too simplistic. 

The Daft.ie Rental Report released today showed that private rents continue to rise in Ireland, with average rent nationally now standing at €1,227 and reaching a high of €1,995 in South County Dublin.
There were 85,799 households (235,947 people) on the social housing waiting list in June 2017, a decrease of 6% from September 2016, however over half of that decrease is attributable to transfers from Rent Supplement to the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).

While the economy is doing well, it is crucial that policy-makers realise that many on lower incomes are not benefiting as they should. Almost 800,000 people in Ireland are living in poverty, a quarter of a million of whom are children. 1 million people in Ireland are experiencing deprivation. 105,000 people are working in a job with income so low they are living in poverty. Social Justice Ireland has a plan to fix this, and to build a fairer society for all.

The current approach to housing policy in Ireland is not working; the private sector will never build social housing units on the scale required.  Government must commit to building sufficient social housing units to eliminate the current housing waiting list.  This is the only way to address Ireland’s ongoing housing and homelessness crisis.  This is a key finding of Social Justice Ireland's National Social Monitor 2017.

A Right to Housing

This paper explores a basic income in the context of a right to housing.  It was first presented at a policy conference 'Basic Income - Radical Utopia or practical Solution?’ and published in the accompanying book.  Also available to download is the presentation and a cartoonist’s interpretation of the paper.

Social Justice Ireland welcomes the publication of the Government’s Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.  However, we have concerns about the scale of the plan and the length of time it implies for eliminating Ireland’s housing crisis.

Social Justice Ireland made a presentation on Social Housing Supply to the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness today. The scale of the social housing challenge that Ireland faces is immense.  There are 90,000 households on the waiting list for social housing.  Securing sufficient finance to provide the scale of social housing required is a major challenge. There is no possibility of providing the level of financing required to deal with the scale of the problem on the Government balance sheet within the current fiscal rules. 

A brief snapshot on how Ireland is performing in terms of social housing provision and some policy proposals.

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