Focus Ireland Census 2016 Report has exposed the scale of Ireland’s housing crisis

Focus Ireland said the Census 2016 Report has exposed again the scale of Ireland’s housing crisis as it reports that less than 9,000 properties were added to the national housing stock over the past five years

The Census also delivered the bleak reality for renters as it shows the number of households paying at least €300 to private landlords has shot up by 166% to 48,933*.

Focus Ireland said that the findings show well-meaning policies being developed by Government in these areas, they are not clearly tough enough to deliver the radical actions required to solve this crisis.

Roughan Mac Namara of Focus Ireland said: “Focus Ireland maintains that a key part of the failure by successive governments to tackle this ongoing homeless crisis is that the response has been led by a series of ‘Halfway House’ policies.”

“For instance there are some very positive policies being rolled out such as the vacant homes initiative (And the commitment to 47,000 social houses) but they fall short because they try to keep all sides happy and are not tough enough to drive the urgent change that is often required. We believe homelessness is wrong and policies need to be developed taking that as the central point. They must deliver whatever action is required to solve this terrible crisis for so many families and individuals.”

The charity said that more urgent action is required to put the vacant homes that are suitable back into the active housing stock to provide much needed homes. We also need action to fast-track the actual building of homes. Neither of these has really happened yet despite a record number of 7,421 people being homeless.

Focus Ireland said that existing policies are not single-minded enough to address the underlying structural problems- and so the crisis continues. The charity said the Government really needs to look at introducing stronger measures to encourage property owners to get empty houses back into the active housing stock. This could include possible measures such as tax on empty homes. There also needs to be stronger action to take account of developers hoarding land as we need to fast-track housing delivery through building of homes.

Focus Ireland stressed that not all empty properties will be suitable for use as a home for a number of reasons, including the standard and location of the property so they can provide only part of the solution. The charity said the Government really has to kick-start the building of homes and follow through on delivering a more secure private rented sector if Ireland is to end this deepening crisis.

Focus Ireland said it aims to play its own key role in overcoming the crisis- for people who are homeless or at risk- as the charity aims to double its housing stock over the next four years. The charity currently provides homes for over 600 households around the country who were previously homeless or at risk.

*(The average weekly rent paid to private landlords in April 2016 was €199.92, up from €171.19 in 2011.)

Editors notes: The latest homeless figures are always available on our website

Media Contact: Roughan Mac Namara 086 85 15 117

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