– Mr. Y is in position No. 68 on the housing list
– Mr. and Mrs. X are in position No. 123
– Ms Y, who is need of two-bedroom accommodation, is in position No. 288
– Mr. Z is in position No. 760, on band three of the housing list
These are the replies to queries for people in need of housing which I am getting daily from Dublin City Council.
There is a housing crisis. We know there is insufficient housing stock, that rents in the private sector are spiralling and that, for various reasons, landlords are taking back properties that used to be available for rent.
There are also too many voids in Dublin Central. It is unacceptable that so many flats and houses are lying vacant. The costs incurred in boarding them up and in dealing with the anti-social behaviour they attract could go instead into releasing them. If I want to put a new kitchen into my house, decorate a room or build an extension, I can get quotes immediately, and if I have the money I will have a builder who can start the work within a few days and complete it in a timeframe of several weeks. Why can we not invest the same kind of urgency and money in local authorities in order that voids can be renovated and made fit for people to inhabit?
In regard to rent allowance, the rents people were paying were far too high for the accommodation they received but instead of putting caps on the rents that landlords could charge, there was a decrease in the rent allowance.
Individuals and families who paid rent to private landlords for several years are facing homelessness because the landlords decided to increase the rent. This aspect of the housing situation is not being addressed.
People on rent allowance throughout Ireland are being victimised in rental advertisements with the caption on many advertisings reading the all too familiar ‘no rent allowance accepted!’ – This in my opinion is blatant discrimination and I have repeated calls to the Minister to take action on this very serious matter. There is no way a housing advertisement excluding someone from renting based on religion or skin colour would be tolerated and rightfully so, but why should it be any different with regard to discriminating against someone because of their economic circumstance?
Rent allowance has to be increased.
It is a short-term measure but it would certainly help.
Homeless budgets have to be maintained.
Brother Kevin in the Capuchin Centre has pointed out that it costs €1.9 million to feed the people who attend its services. He receives €350,000 from Dublin City Council and €100,000 from the HSE. One practical step would be to increase his funding. Fr. Peter McVerry and Brother Kevin were recently given freedom of the city of Dublin. Both individuals are passionate about homelessness but we are only paying lip service to dealing with it if they are not being supported.