One year on Housing for All is failing fast
Publishing a report card today, Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan has said Housing for All is failing fast one year into its implementation.
An analysis of Housing for All and across the housing market tells a grim story of major delays, a rental trap, overcooked house prices and systemic homelessness failings.
Senator Moynihan said:
“Housing for All is clearly failing. Homelessness is at record level, people are queuing around the street for a room, people being priced out of buying a home and people paying nearly half their wages on rent. The minister is relying on spin over any real substance and his plan is clearly not working for tens of thousands of people, with actions being delayed and all the key stats are pointing sharply upwards. It’s not acceptable.
“The reality is the government isn’t putting serious effort in. There’s been some positives in terms of cost rental, but it’s not nearly enough for how many people apply. We need to do all we can to keep people out of homelessness, equip local authorities to buy housing where there is a tenant in situ. There is no sense of urgency on security of tenure while people renting are living in anxiety. Leo Varadkar said that the social contract was broken, that Housing for All needs time, but he said the same thing 4 years ago about Rebuilding Ireland. People are sick of sound bites we need and want real action on the housing and homelessness crisis.
“One year on from its announcement, it’s clear that the Government’s silver bullet, Housing for All, is failing to deliver the things people actually care about – secure and affordable housing. Through its reliance on the private sector through more subsidies and schemes, it’s very difficult to see Housing for All bring about the State-led delivery of social and affordable housing.
“We need a radical think on housing policy. When the details of the Government’s current strategy are examined, it points to tinkering at the edges and short-term band aids, which is needed, but only when coupled with an ambitious home building project that accommodates families, single people, young and old, in vibrant communities. Labour will build homes, we will create spaces that have the public services like primary care, schools, libraries and outdoor amenities so people can live a full life.
“Since its implementation, Housing for All has seen rents are up everywhere. House prices are skyrocketing while people’s wages are not increasing, people are paying more on transport, on heating their homes and their weekly shop. Housing is the cornerstone of a person’s life; it provides the security to live a fulfilled life. This Government is not giving people a fair shot at living.
“Even the short-term measures to protect people against homelessness are failing. After months of pushing for a review of the HAP measures, the Government finally conceded. Yet the increases announced simply do not reflect the monies being asked of our renters. It’s not good enough.
“The Census shows that our population is rising above 5 million people. I have serious concerns about Housing for All, or this government, being able to provide enough targeted housing on an annual basis. Ultimately, it is clear, and all experts tell us, that the State must take on a more direct role in the system, as the private market has vastly different objectives on housing.
“The Government is missing these targets despite the Housing Department’s capital spending being €120 million, or 21% below its profile. This is unbelievable given the circumstances we find ourselves in.
“Ultimately people need to know from the government if this plan will deliver affordable houses for themselves and for future generations to come. The overall objective of the plan was to ensure that “every citizen in the State should have access to good quality homes: to purchase or rent at an affordable price; built to a high standard in the right place; offering a high quality of life.” After years of private market failure, we must provide a new model to tackle the housing crisis. The supply and affordability crisis can only be sustainably resolved through long-term State action that delivers affordable housing for once and for all.”
Housing for All Progress Report.
- Provide additional resources to the RTB to make available trained RTB facilitators to intervene at an early stage to prevent disputes escalating between parties – DELAYED
- Prepare and publish guidelines with standards for the development and refurbishment of emergency accommodation – DELAYED
- Support the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DHRE) to pilot a scheme to convert Local Authority and AHB-owned emergency accommodation facilities to own-door permanent social housing tenancies – DELAYED
- Finalise a model of health care for people experiencing homelessness, including a health/vulnerability assessment tool to assist in determining suitability for Housing First and level of support needed – DELAYED
- Introduce new legislation to reform the judicial review process, in compliance with EU legal requirements, so that reforms come into effect on the establishment of a new Division of the High Court dealing with planning and environmental issues – DELAYED
- Introduce e-planning in all Local Authorities (see also Action 24.11) – DELAYED
- Legislate to increase the borrowing capacity of the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) to €12bn, with a review in 2 years, to support the local government sector in land acquisition and delivery of social and affordable homes – DELAYED
- Develop new regulatory controls requiring Short-Term and Holiday Lets to register with Fáilte Ireland with a view to ensuring that homes are used to best effect areas of housing need – DELAYED
- Develop new guidance on achieving the most appropriate tenure mix within communities, including guidance on engagement with communities – DELAYED
- Conduct an analysis and value engineering exercise for each component of cost of construction (including cost of compliance) of house and apartment development, informed by cost comparisons with comparable EU countries – DELAYED
Due Q4 2021 that were delayed until Q2 2022
- Develop section 28 Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Sustainable and Compact Settlement Guidance (SCSG), including guidance on housing typologies to facilitate innovative approaches to medium and higher densities – DELAYED AGAIN
- Issue updated guidance on rural housing – DELAYED AGAIN
- Introduce a new programme for the CPO of vacant properties for resale on the open market – DELAYED AGAIN
- Retrofit 2,400 social homes in 2021, 750 of which relate to the Midlands – DELAYED AGAIN
Due Q2 2022 – No update published
- Expand the case management approach for homeless people living with drug or alcohol addiction and enhance treatment options
- Roll out a programme of learning and development for the planning service with Local Authorities and An Bord Pleanála
- Bring forward legislation to allow Technological Universities to borrow from the Housing Finance Agency
- Harness European Regional Development Funding to tackle vacancy and dereliction in towns
- Collect data on vacancy levels in residential property with a view to introducing a vacant property tax
- Develop guidance relating to protected structures to encourage the use of such properties for repurposing and/ or refurbishment as residential accommodation
- Develop new guidelines for Local and Economic Community Plans, that will require Local Authorities to consider housing needs when formulating both the economic and community elements of their LECP