10 Point Plan to Deliver Housing for All
Social Justice Ireland has today submitted our 10 Point Plan to deliver Housing for All, as part of the Government's anticipated new housing strategy. Our proposals move away from housing as a commodity towards housing as a home, addressing deficits in homelessness prevention and supports; necessary increases in social housing provision; affordable housing; strengthening the private rented sector; and ensuring that housing developments are provide for sustainable communities.
In November 2019, Social Justice Ireland presented a paper at our Annual Social Policy Conference reviewing the progress of Rebuilding Ireland, the Government’s housing strategy. Our review found this strategy lacking under each of the five pillars. Any new Housing Strategy must address these deficiencies and take a fresh approach to housing. We must move away from viewing housing as an asset and instead, return to housing as a social good, an essential component of ensuring a decent standard of living.
Our 10 Point Plan includes:
- Expand Housing First to families, providing wraparound services and supports for children and parents.
- Acquire an equity stake in properties in mortgage distress, leaving families in situ and increasing the State’s housing stock.
- Build 14,341 social homes each year for the next 10 years at an annual investment of €3.3 billion.
- Prohibit the sale of State lands suitable for residential development and use this land to build social housing.
- Ensure that AHBs (Approved Housing Bodies) retain their housing stock as social housing and prohibit their sale on the private market by AHBs.
- Address housing affordability on the supply-side rather than investing in demand-side schemes that artificially maintain high house prices.
- Close all tax loopholes for large-scale investment vehicles purchasing residential properties.
- Invest in Property Inspections and enforcements.
- Legislate to increase tenant protections and introduce long-term leases.
- Invest in the services and infrastructure to support housing developments, with particular focus on social housing developments.
In addition to the above, Government needs to get the data right. The data on homelessness in Ireland has been denounced as “statistical obfuscation if not ‘corruption’.”, however this statistical obfuscation persists across all housing data.
- Data on homelessness does not account for couch surfers, people living with family or friends, or (as it once did) households temporarily accommodated in own-door accommodation by Local Authorities.
- Social housing waiting lists do not count households in receipt of HAP, but do count those in receipt of Rent Supplement. The number of households on social housing waiting lists across the country has officially decreased by over 30,000 since 2016. In reality, it has increased by more than that amount since then.
- The 2020 Social Housing Construction Statistics Report provides a ‘Total Cumulative Social Housing Delivery’ figure for HAP as 80,827. This includes all HAP tenancies started between 2016 and 2020, but does not account for exits or duplications caused by renewals. The real figure, according to the HAP Exchequer Spend Landlord Payments 2019-2020 report is 59,821.
- Construction reports consistently duplicate outputs by counting construction starts and construction completions as two datasets.
Ireland needs a housing strategy that is evidence-based. That evidence must be robust and reliable. As part of a new housing strategy, the Minister must commit to clarifying the data and ensuring that reports are consistent and accurate.
To view the full text of Social Justice Ireland's submission CLICK HERE.
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