Sunday, 3 February 2013

NAMA confirms it has No properties in Wicklow suitable for Social Housing

Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has called on the Fine Gael/Labour
Government to change their failed social housing policy and to bring
forward a Social Housing Initiative to allow the immediate
commencement of the construction of social housing projects across the
Country to help try resolve the housing crisis in Wicklow. His appeal
to the Government follows confirmation from NAMA that there are no
suitable housing units for social housing on their books in Wicklow.
The Government has said it expects to reach its target of getting
2,000 residential units from NAMA across the state for social housing.

Cllr Brady said "Their is a serious housing crisis in Wicklow and the
current housing policies of Fine Gael/Labour are compounding the
problems for families who are on housing lists with the local
authorities in Wicklow. The Government has adopted a policy of
building no more council houses, this is partially because of the
number of vacant properties across the state on the books of the
National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). However following a question
i had submitted to Wicklow County Council it has been revealed there
are no suitable housing units in Wicklow currently held by NAMA."

Cllr Brady continued "A total of 27 properties, in 3 estates in County
Wicklow were initially identified as potentially suitable for Social
Housing in 2012. 2 of the estates are in Bray and 1 in Greystones.
After further investigation by the Housing Agency, none of the
properties have been deemed suitable for social housing. The estate in
Greystones and one of the Bray estates are no longer available and the
remaining estate in Bray is not suitable due to the size of the

"There are over 5,000 families on housing waiting lists in Wicklow,
families are now being told that it could be 10-12 years before they
are even considered for a council house. This is completely appalling,
I have always argued that Wicklow is not like other Counties, we don't
have expanses of ghost estates across the County that can be used for
social housing and this has now been proven in the response i have
received. The other Government housing initiatives have also failed
completely. Private landlords have not signed up to the Rental
Accommodation Scheme (RAS) in the numbers they were hoping and only 1
build to lease scheme has progressed in the County, this is mainly
because developers cant secure the funds to progress any major housing
developments. Many people in receipt of rent allowance are now in dire
straits because their allowances have been cut and their landlords are
simply refusing to reduce rents to reflect the reduction, this has
resulted in many families being forced from their rented properties
and desperately looking for a council house."

Cllr Brady went onto say "The current Government policy of not
building any more social housing is a flawed one. Over the last 5-10
years the local authorities in Wicklow have spent millions of Euro
purchasing land for housing, 2 sites alone cost Bray Town Council and
Wicklow County Council over € 9 million, the plans for hundreds of
houses have been drawn up at great expense by the councils in Wicklow,
but unfortunately these plans have been shelved by the Government and
the local authorities have been told that there will be no council
houses built for at least the next 2 years."

Cllr Brady concluded "Over 5,000 families in Wicklow are on the
housing list in Wicklow. It is safe to say their is a housing crisis
and the current Government policy is adding to this crisis. We don't
have the vacant ghost estates like other Counties and the response
from NAMA proves that. The Labour Minister for Housing Jan O'Sullivan
must look at the failed policy of not building council houses and
reverse it. What is required is a Social Housing Initiative, this will
stimulate the building and construction industry, both through funding
additional dwellings and increasing expenditure on repairs and
maintenance. This will help stimulate businesses which supply
construction materials and help to retain jobs in the industry and
also house the thousands of families currently lingering on lengthily
housing lists. The Minister has up until now refused to met public
representatives from Wicklow, I intend on writhing to the Minister and
asking her again to meet a delegation from Wicklow and i will be
requesting special meetings of the councils to take place to address
the housing crisis in Wicklow."

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