Mini-Budget must offer housing solutions to hard pressed working families

Senator Mark Wall
20 February 2023
  • Labour urges passing of its Housing (Homeless Families) Bill
  • Reiterates calls for eviction ban

Labour Senator Mark Wall has expressed concern at the persistent failure of government to act on the housing crisis.

In advance of the mini-Budget due to be announced tomorrow, Senator Wall said not enough homes are being built, too many vacant and derelict homes remain unused and the overreliance on the private sector has failed.

Senator Wall said:

“The word crisis is over-used and devalued in our politics. But Ireland’s housing situation is a real political, economic and social crisis and it must be addressed by legislators and by Government.

“Tomorrow’s mini-Budget will be another stop-gap measure to buy this Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil government time – but time is running out fast. Earlier this month, Labour put forward a series of emergency housing measures to protect people against the crisis of our times, and the Housing Minister didn’t even bother to turn up for the debate.

“Our housing targets are way out of kilter with the need in communities. Unpublished research by the Housing Commission provided to the Minister for Housing in November suggests that the baseline housing requirement each year until 2050 ranges from 42,000 to 62,000 homes, yet Housing for All has set an annual target of just 33,000 new homes. We’re almost 10,000 homes away from a conservative estimate of our need.

“The huge systemic failings in housing are having long-term social consequences for people and families. The data published by the ESRI into the impact of housing circumstances on a child’s social outcomes is stark yet unsurprising and it demands radical action by the Minister for Housing to address the big issues poor housing quality is having on children. 12% of children reviewed by the report are living in social housing. It is disgraceful that we have so much as a single home where there is inadequate conditions. The Minister must carry out an review of the suitability of our social homes to ensure that every child has a fair start.

“We are also calling on Government to endorse and fast-track Labour’s Housing (Homeless Families) Bill, which would ensure local authorities prioritise the needs of children when it comes to housing, and end the scourge of family homelessness. We are currently failing our most vulnerable children. The number of people entering homelessness continues to rise, reaching a record of 11,632 people in December, 3,442 of whom were children. It’s scandalous.

“Unfortunately we know that many people who enter homelessness are coming directly from the private rental market. As such, we are demanding an extension of the eviction ban until the end of 2023. This extension is needed to afford Government time to ramp up the delivery of newly built homes and plan appropriately for its lifting at the end of the year, something they failed to do during the winter months.

“The consequences of the lack of action on housing are already coming home to roost. I am urging the Minister for Housing to review Labour’s emergency housing measures plan and offer people some degree of hope when the specific details of the mini-Budget is announced tomorrow.”

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