Focus Ireland Calls For Budget 2020 Investment to Drive Increased Delivery of Affordable Rental & Social Housing on State Land

Focus Ireland Calls For Budget 2020 Investment to Drive Increased Delivery of Affordable Rental & Social Housing on State Land

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Focus Ireland Calls For Budget 2020 Investment to Drive Increased Delivery of Affordable Rental & Social Housing on State Land

Focus Ireland launched its Pre-Budget Submission today (Sunday, September 22nd) which calls for action in Budget 2020 to fast-track increased delivery of social housing to help ease the homelessness crisis.

The charity is calling for specific investment in the Land Development Agency to help drive the better use of State land to deliver more social housing & affordable rental accommodation than the Government is currently planning under this agency.

Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said:

“It is essential that the State take a more active role in driving the building of more social housing along with affordable rental accommodation. The establishment of the Land Development Agency (LDA) in 2019 was an important and welcome development. However, the stipulation that the LDA must produce only 10% social housing and 30% affordable housing means that the primary goal of the LDA, as defined by Government policy is to allow up to 60% of the homes to be built on state land to be un-affordable to the ordinary public.”

“This defies logic in the middle of the worst housing and homelessness crisis in living memory and is not the best use of State land to provide for the housing needs of citizens. The solution to homelessness is simple.  We need to deliver more social housing and more affordable rental accommodation. To achieve this we must make maximum use of all the resources available to us, and publicly owned land is one of the most significant resources we have. Focus Ireland firmly believes that the full potential of State land must be realised.  State land must be used more efficiently to deliver more homes for ordinary people and not used by developers to make profits.  The increased provision of social and affordable rental housing will also act to free up many thousands of units in the private rented market that are currently being used  to provide homes under schemes such as HAP and Rent Supplement.  This will help stabilise rents in the private rented market and make it easier for people to find somewhere affordable to live.”

Mr. Allen added:

“We are calling for a significant shift in the overall allocation of how public land is used by the Land Development Agency to be made in Budget 2020 to ensure that it has the resources to deliver a minimum of 15% social, 15% cost rental and 30% ‘affordable for sale’ on all LDA State owned land developments.”

The charity made its call as latest figures show a sharp decline in the number of social housing units completed in the first half of 2019 compared with 2018, and ever-growing reliance on the private rental market to provide ‘social housing’.  Stats to be added here.

In July 2019, a total of 10,275 people were homeless nationwide. These figures also shockingly show that more than 1 in every 3 people homeless is a child. Focus Ireland had already submitted its budget proposals to all relevant Government Ministers in recent months.  The shorter Pre-Budget Submission document issued today concisely outlines 10 actions Focus Ireland is calling for to make this “A Budget For Homelessness” Click HERE to view.

The measures Focus Ireland is calling for include Budget 2020 also include:

  • Establish a fund to take into ownership buy-to-let units which are being repossessed due to landlord arrears and the tenant is already in receipt of HAP/RS and is at risk of homelessness.
  • Establish and resource a Homelessness Prevention Unit in the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with an initial fund of €500,000 to support effective prevention actions
  • Resource Tusla to provide an aftercare worker for every 20 young people who need one in 2020, and to every 18 by 2021.
  • Increase the personal rate of social welfare payments for people of working age from €203 to €210 per week.

ENDS

Media contact: Roughan Mac Namara –   Ph: 086 85 15 117

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