Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Houses, houses everywhere, but none to live in

Cllr Anthony Kelly has said he has serious concerns over new housing regulations introduced by Willie Penrose. The Wexford town Sinn Féin councillor said that he had received many phone calls from constituents who are worried about the future of the RAS scheme and the seemingly anti family nature of the new regulations.

“Issues regarding changes to the social housing criteria are the most common grievances coming into my office at the moment,” Cllr Kelly said. “People are frightened by the perceived anti family nature of the new regulations. Often you could find three generations of the same family living in a local authority house. Under the new guidelines the new generation might not be entitled to live there. Also there are serious concerns over the curtailing of the RAS scheme. Many families on the waiting list for social housing avail of this scheme. If they are removed from the scheme, where will they go? What we are talking about here is the possibility of government actions making families homeless.”

“The terrible irony of this is that there are three times as many houses as needed to house every family on the social housing waiting list lying idle around the nation. NAMA, which is funded by the Irish taxpayer, has seized houses around the country from indebted property developers. Rather than doing what was morally right and redistributing these properties as social housing, NAMA has instead began selling these properties to other developers who will in turn rent them to Irish citizens. It’s incredible. Irish people paid to set up NAMA, and are now paying again to rent state owned property from them. There are currently one hundred and thirty thousand families on the social housing waiting list. That means that up to three hundred thousand people are being faced with these concerns. We need a renewed focus on the public provision of social housing which has never been more cost effective and is sorely needed.”

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