Sunday, 14 April 2013

Wicklow County Council to hold a Special meeting to discuss the Housing Crisis in the County

Wicklow County Council is set to hold a special meeting on Monday to
discuss the Housing Crisis in the County which has seen an all-time
high of 4,154 families looking for social housing from Wicklow local

Cllr Brady stated "I am glad that the housing crisis that’s affecting
so many people in Wicklow is at last getting the recognition that it
deserves at council level. I have been speaking about the problem with
housing for a long time now and unfortunately it has fallen on deaf
ears. 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 and the level of funding provided to
local authorities for housing related purposes has been slashed. In
2009 Wicklow received €15m for Housing projects, this year the
allocation is just €2.4m and the Housing Adaptation grant for people
with disabilities has been cut by 40% from €954,794 last year to
€567,117 in 2013."

Cllr Brady continued "Applicants on the housing list are soaring for a
number of reasons. The main reason being the failed housing policies
which the government is perusing, also because of the age structure of
the population. The cuts to the rent allowance is also forcing people
out of private rented accommodation. There are 2,700 people in receipt
of Rent Supplement in Wicklow at a cost of €16.3m which is paid to
private landlords. The amount paid to people has been slashed, however
private landlords have not dropped rents to reflect this and the
shortfall has to be made up by the tenants which is causing huge

Brady went on to say "What we need is action to tackle the housing
crisis. We have 4,154 families on waiting lists, 2,700 on Rent
Supplement and 490 on the Rental Accommodation Schemes. This state is
in a continuing housing crisis which is leaving the worst off in our
society sleeping on couches and raising their children in unhealthy,
damp and crowded conditions. The government is turning a blind eye to
this, more interested in paying someone else’s bank debt than
providing for the rights of its people."

Brady concluded "We need a Social Housing Initiative which 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. The
state must use the Pension Reserve Fund, the European Investment Bank,
incentivised investment from the private pension sector and social
housing bonds to raise funds to start to end this crisis finally.
According to CSO figures there are 5,422 vacant dwellings in Wicklow,
these also need to be utilised as an emergency way of dealing with the
housing list of which over 25% are waiting 5 years or more to be
housed. I will be raising all these issues at the special Council
meeting on Monday and also seeking a meeting with Minister for Housing
Jan O'Sullivan." Ends

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