A MAJORITY of those who are becoming homeless are from the private rented sector, Independent Deputy Michael Collins told the Dáil.
He said many of his constituents in places like Bantry, Baltimore, Skibbereen, Kealkil, Clonakilty, Rosscarbery, Bandon and Kinsale, to name just a few, are unable to get on the property ladder and have to resort to paying huge rents.
‘The increase in rents is driving people out of rented accommodation,’ he said. ‘Renting is often more expensive than making a monthly mortgage repayment. In the week from March 19th to March 25th, 9,681 people – adults and children – across Ireland were homeless,’ he added. ‘The number of families becoming homeless has increased by 37% since March of last year. More than one in three of those in emergency accommodation is a child. Urgent action is needed to address this serious problem.’
The Government has said on many occasions that it plans to build more houses, he said.
When it introduced the Rebuilding Ireland scheme last year, it promised to deliver 47,000 social housing units by the end of 2021 in a bid to tackle homelessness.
‘My concern is that this promise falls far short of the number of houses that are required if Ireland is to eliminate its housing crisis,’ he said. ‘There are 90,000 households on the social housing waiting lists.
It has been promised that 47,000 social housing units will be delivered by 2021. We are just three years away from that deadline. Can we have certainty that the Government will deliver on this promise? While we are waiting in the hope that the promised houses will be supplied, we must intervene to ensure people do not lose their homes, for example, by addressing the issues of security of tenure and rent certainty.’
If better controls were put in place for things like security deposits, rent increases and termination procedures, they would go a long way towards giving tenants the protections they need, he said. Landlords would also benefit from the more protected environment that would exist if clear rules were in place.
• The Houses of the Oireachtas are taking a break this week so our next Dáil report from Tim Ryan at Leinster House will be in two weeks’ time.