September 1, 2021
Government housing plan must deliver 20,000 social and affordable homes per year – Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Eoin Ó Broin TD, speaking in advance of the launch of the government’s much-delayed housing plan has said that it must deliver 20,000 social and affordable homes a year if it is to address the deepening housing crisis.

Teachta Ó Broin said:

“Finally, after 14 months in office, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien is due to launch his long-awaited housing plan. Why it has taken so long is hard to understand.

“Sinn Féin will judge the plan when we have read the detail. 

“But on the basis of the media leaks to date, it is clear that there will be lots of whistles and bells around the periphery of the plan.

“However, what is not yet clear, is whether the government is going to invest in and deliver the tens of thousands of social and affordable homes that are needed to tackle the deepening housing crisis in 2022, 2023 and 2024. 

“Speculating on whether combined public and private sector output will hit 33,000 homes by 2025 is not a plan, it is a wishful aspiration if not backed up by significantly increased public investment.

“The key test of the plan will be whether government doubles direct capital investment in the delivery of social and affordable homes. 

“Such a level of investment would ensure the delivery of at least 20,000 social, affordable rental and affordable purchase homes a year through new-build, acquisition and refurbishment of vacant and derelict stock.

“Government cannot control the output of the private sector. It needs to learn from the mistakes of the failed Fine Gael Rebuilding Ireland plan. 

“Instead, government must focus on what it can control, namely direct delivery of social and affordable homes by councils, approved housing bodies and community housing trusts.

“With rents set to continue rising in the time ahead, government also needs to introduce new measures to ban rent increases, to put money back in renters’ pockets with a refundable tax credit, and to ensure real security of tenure.

“The plan also needs to include a coherent strategy to prevent homelessness and reduce the time people spend in emergency accommodation. 

“This will require stronger legal protections for tenants at risk of eviction into homelessness and a significant increase in Housing First tenancies for those in emergency accommodation.

“Government must also set a date for the referendum to enshrine the right to housing in the Constitution. There is no reason why this referendum should not be held in 2022.

“Sinn Féin will judge the new housing plan on its merits. We need a fundamental change in housing policy if we are to undo the damage of decades of bad Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael housing policy. 

“Those in housing stress need delivery not rhetoric.”

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