Update on ‘Special City Council Housing Meeting’ held at 4pm on Monday the 23rd June.
This Government has abandoned all pretence of providing a home in a City where at a conservative estimate up to 10,000 people are on the Housing Waiting List for periods of to 11 years on the west side of the City.
At a special housing meeting of the City Council on Monday the up to date waiting list figures given to Councillors confirmed that 3,597 Households were assessed as in housing need with another 192 applications pending.
It was also clearly confirmed that this figure referred to households and therefore at a conservative estimate at least 10,000 people are waiting for a home with an average waiting time of 5/6 years on the East Side of the City and 10/11 years for a two bed-roomed property on the West Side of the City.
It was also confirmed that other than a proposal to build 11 units in Knocknacarra by 2015 no other Local Authority Houses will be constructed.
The only game in town according to Government Policy is to rent on the private market and the government will assist in the payment of the rent.
Up to now we have had the Rental Accommodation Scheme, the Long Term Leasing Scheme and at the special meeting it was confirmed that the government are now bringing in new legislation The Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014 to allow for (among other provisions) a new scheme of Housing Assistance Payments.
What will this mean? Simply put, the qualified housing applicant will have to source a private house and if the family qualifies under the scheme, then the tenant will pay the City Council what is called a contribution which will be deducted at source if he/she is on social welfare payments, the Council in turn will pay the rent directly to the Landlord and making up any difference that arises and most significantly the housing applicant will be deemed adequately housed and the family’s name removed from the Housing Waiting List.
Revolutionary yes, for the Landlord Class with security of financial payments, security of tenure and the retention of the option to take back the house at any time from the tenant ( for specified reasons of course).
The two Labour Councillors and in particular Cllr Cameron felt I was scare- mongering and that this was totally inaccurate and in particular that the applicant would not be removed from the housing list.
I referred him to page 12 of the document presented to us i.e. the ‘Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill where it was clearly set out that ‘Housing Assistance will constitute a form of social housing support and households benefitting from housing assistance will be deemed to have their housing need met’!
The senior housing executive also confirmed that this was in fact the case not just for applicants taking private houses under this scheme but all applicants taking houses under the RAS scheme and the long term leasing scheme as well.
So in a City with a housing waiting list of 10,000 people and more and with the City Manager confirming that there is any event a general shortage of a supply of houses we have the Labour/Fine Gael Government paying tax payer’s money directly to the Landlord to give him/her financial security and absolutely no direct construction of local authority homes for our people!
I will be coming back to this topic and will let you know if Cllr Cameron apologies and/or reads the legislation he is actively supporting and praising along with his Labour Colleague.