Fianna Fáil underplaying Social Housing need – Matt Carthy TD
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has accused Fianna Fáil and the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien of ‘deliberately underplaying the number of households in need of social housing’.
Deputy Carthy said:
“The annual Housing Needs Assessment was published last week by the Minister for Housing.
According to the report, the number of households on Council housing waiting lists decreased by 6,813 between June 2019 and November 2020, a 9.9% decrease.
“However, the Minister’s argument that this constitutes progress in addressing social housing does not hold up to scrutiny. The Minister is purposefully downplaying the number of households in need of social housing.
“The number of households claiming the Housing Assistance Payment actually rose by 11,115 over the same timeframe. This is a temporary assistance program for social housing applicants as they wait for council housing but are not included in the Council’s waiting list statistics.
“This means that, contrary to Fianna Fáil assertions, the number of people in need of social housing has risen by 4,302 households, a 6 percent increase.
“When all those on council waiting lists, as well as HAP and RAS recipients, are taken together, the total number of people in need of social housing exceeds 140,000. This does not include thousands of families who cannot be included in the waiting lists at all because of restrictions such as income limits which prevent them from even applying for housing.
“The government only intends to address a third of this official housing need, which also does not include prospective applicants. These statistics clearly indicate that the government is not spending enough to satisfy the true need for social housing.
“That is why, year after year, subsidies to private landlords in respect of social housing tenants increase to the tune of millions on an annual basis.
“Concrete action is required to address the housing crisis in our communities, and the Minister obscuring figures to make himself look better adds little of substance to either the debate or resolution of this crisis”.