Is by-passing councils the answer to social housing crisis?

Is by-passing councils the answer to social housing crisis?

The problem with social housing waiting lists has been rumbling on for some time with waits of up to a decade in various local authority areas around the country for people to be housed.

The matter shows no real signs of abating in the short term with reports earlier this week revealing that not one of the 1,700 homes promised more than a year ago under a €312m investment programme have as yet been built.

As of February this year there were approximately 139,539 people on social housing waiting lists nationwide with councils criticised for their lack of progressing in dealing with the list.

Last year out of a total of 12,666 homes built nationwide only 72 were by city or county councils – a total of just under 0.6%.

Earlier this week the Association of Irish Local Government claimed that local authorities needed more than €5.5 billion to be made available over the next five years to address the houing crisis.

Now it appears that local councils are set to be sidelined as part of a process to speed up house building nationwide.

A report in today’s Irish Independent claims that Housing Minister Simon Coveney wants project managers appointed to drive specific house-building projects from start to finish.

The report also claims that Minister Coveney is also considering further by-passing councils by fast-tracking big building projects to An Bord Pleanála to speed up decisions and minimise delays through procedures and objections.

The housing strategy will also include a special emphasis on increasing the supply of “starter homes” for first-time buyers in Dublin.

The report further claims that the Government are now acknowledging that the housing system is totally broken.

With this in mind, let us know your thoughts on the matter:

  • Are the proposed changes too little, too late?
  • What can be done to ensure that more social houses are built around the country?
  • Are you on the social housing waiting list and, if so, how long?

Have your say below…

There are 5 comments for this article
  1. John O’Shaughnessy (@Johnno1848) at 3:07 pm

    The local authorities are dead ducks and are basically kindergartens for political hopefuls- good, bad and useless- and unfailing sources of material for comedians. One must expect that a lot of corrupt and pocket-serving dealings willl disappear with them. It is high time to abolish all councils and have their few functions carried out from central government. The so-called Housing Associations should go the same way as the councils.

  2. Brian Buckley at 2:48 pm

    I agree with the sentiments – I lived in a social housing ghetto all my childhood and the first thing I obtained when I got a job was a mortgage. I can tell you 99% of the people in that scheme were there for life. No other country in the world allows that. Really disappointing that FG have jumped on the stupid and unsustainable social housing nonsense bandwagon.

  3. Kevin at 2:34 pm

    I would agree with Martin and John, the new policy seems to be give money to the likes of Tuath (Housing association) who in turn buy up full housing estates that are being built (100% Social Housing) and charge rents from €19 to €99 per week to Social tenants!, they can stay in the house for life! no integration policy of mixing social housing along side private housing back to the old days of forming potential ghettos! This also means that young couples that wish to buy, have no chance to buy in these estates and have to stay renting! Should Social housing be giving to people for life and then hand on to their sibling if they decide to stay on after their parents die! Social housing should be for a time period to help people out, to allow them to move on with their lives not a right for life! Were is the encouragement to seek employment, buy your own house!

  4. martin byrne at 1:42 pm

    For far two long now the local councils have abdicated their responsibilities for housing to the private sector. Private landlords were encouraged to purchase “buy to let” properties. When times were “good” this worked for a while, but then the government decided to pull the rug out from under the landlords feet and then blame them for the housing crisis. Is it any wonder that landlords are leaving this business and the local councils are unable to cope.

  5. John at 12:40 pm

    The real question is why do people need/want social housing? The answer is because winning social housing is like winning the lotto. Like winning €200 per week for life. Who would not want that? Perhaps if all social housing were charged 80/90% of the full private sector rent (and that rent used to provide more homes) would resolve the problem in the long term.

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