Cllr Anthony Kelly has said that the government's policy towards social housing must change from trying to hide the problem to decisively tackling it. The Sinn Féin rep has called for a new plan to be put in place to construct hundreds of new social housing units in Wexford over the next two years.
"Lack of social housing is a major issue still despite what the government figures suggest," Cllr Kelly said. "The state would have us believe that there are now less people in need of state accommodation but this is because the Rental Accommodation Scheme has been used to camouflage the true extent of the problem."
"While the RAS scheme was a positive step taken to protect families in need from unaffordable rent conditions, it has also been used to massage the figures. Often people availing from the RAS scheme are taken off the social housing waiting list without being informed. Many are under the impression that they are still on the list."
"The government cannot hide this problem with short term measures. The RAS scheme and rent supplement were emergency measures, not a permanent solution. It costs half a billion euro per year to subsidies landlords who offer accommodation for these schemes."
"Rental subsidising measures are necessary but action must be taken to tackle the core issue. More social housing is required. Recently unfinished houses were demolished on an estate in Cleariestown. Obviously the government does not believe in using these empty buildings for social housing, so a new construction project which would provide employment as well as vitally needed affordable housing must be initiated immediately."