Friday 24 November 2017

New approach needed to tackle housing problem

AS councillors were debating what to do to make housing supply catch up with demand in Fingal, a Labour candidate for the local elections in Swords was telling his party conference that a new approach was needed to tackle the problem.

Duncan Smith, Labour Party Candidate for Swords, called for a new approach to tackle the complex Housing crisis.

In a speech to the Labour Party Conference in Enfield, Co Meath recently, Smith described the housing crisis as 'complex, and has no easy fix' and has called for some creative thinking to go with political will.

Mr Smith said: 'The housing crisis is complex and effects, homeowners, renters and local authority tenants. The crisis is interlinked and requires a solution that has due regard for all strands of the problem.

'Take for example a person who bought in the boom and lost their job, they may have rented their house to a family who are in receipt of rent supplement and who are also on the ever growing Fingal County Council housing list.

'Because there is negligible growth in the house building market, and massive demand, rents are on the increase. This is pricing many rent supplement recipients out of the market as the landlords are able to get higher rents from people not in receipt of rent supplement.

'This is leaving many rent supplement recipients with no option but to avail of the homelessness service of local authorities. I have dealt with a number of families who have had to do this and have been in temporary accommodation for months.'

The Labour candidate said: 'I believe we need to start building homes. Over the past 15 years we relied on the private housing market for new housing stock and this has proven to be unsustainable.

'The answer is not solely in the NAMA stock of some 10,000 properties nationwide. These were units designed and developed for the private market and not necessarily suitable for well-planned social housing.

'I believe small, mixed developments, part funded by selling a minority proportion of units direct onto the private market. This would provide a stimulus for construction workers, and stimulate the housing market in a controlled manner.'

Fingal Independent

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