Without a dedicated Housing Delivery Agency, piecemeal approaches will fail to resolve crisis

August 14, 2017

With children four years and younger revealed as the largest age group among those who are homeless, the implementation deficit in addressing the housing crisis becomes more apparent and more chronic every day.

Anne Marie McNally, the Social Democrats Dublin Mid-West representative, today said:

“The announcements by Housing Minister today on vacant homes and other measures to free up existing housing stock are welcome. But the Minister needs to radically step-change the pace of delivery across all fronts to increase the housing supply. We need much greater ambition in terms of the number of homes built with the support of the State.

“Ireland urgently needs a dedicated housing body to drive and oversee the faster delivery of new homes. The Housing Delivery Office in the Minister’s department has four staff – how can the wide range of actions necessary be overseen by four staff?

“The Social Democrats want to see a new State Housing Delivery Agency that would have a hands-on approach and be able to coordinate activities of local authorities and housing agencies, contract builders and activate publicly-controlled land banks. Without a powerful coordinating agency, individual measures will simply not deliver the scale of response needed.

“Many more vacant units are available and we call for urgent implementation of measures including promised changes to the planning laws to facilitate easier conversion of ‘above the shop’ units into housing.

`”Land hoarding remains a problem. The Social Democrats have published a Bill that would deal with land-hoarding. The Urban Regeneration and Housing (Amendment) Bill would mean that owners of vacant sites would face higher levies the longer the land remains undeveloped.“

Ms McNally added:

“The scale of the crisis continues to escalate. We must now have a coordinated cross-government and cross-agency war-like effort to resolve this crisis.”

Ends

14th August 2017