Tenants First has outlined proposals for a public housing strategy to meet the housing crisis.
The report describes current government spend and policy in housing as ‘social welfare for the rich’, including €391m on rent supplement, €169m on tax incentives, €450m on stamp duty loopholes, and €400m unspent in local authority accommodation.
This policy has resulted in: 56,000 people and families on housing waiting lists, 60,000 depending on rent supplements, 5000 homeless, 14,000 living in mortgage arrears, 49,348 empty houses, and dispersed, devastated and abandoned communities.
Tenants First are calling for the establishment of a €3 billion fund to be used for a ten-year programme regenerating existing, and developing new, communities.
A new Social Housing and Community Regeneration Board could be established to plan and manage the expenditure of this fund and should be backed up by legislation.
The board should include representatives of government, tenants and those marginalised and excluded from housing.
This approach guarantees that a proportion of the state resources being handed over to the banking sectors will be directed back to social purposes.
More importantly, this approach will mean drastic reductions of the housing list, an end to insecure living conditions, the opportunity to meet the needs of the homeless, increased employment in the construction sector, and the opportunity to build and regenerate communities in a way that addresses human and social needs, not just bricks and mortar.
The fact that this kind of approach and thinking has been put forward by an organisation of local authority tenants goes to prove, once again, that it is the ordinary people of the country that have the answers.
It shows up our current government, once again, to be not only incompetent in their social planning, but also only interested in serving the interests of greedy developers and bankers.
Written By Tina MacVeigh, People Before Profit candidate