Private Rental Sector: I welcome the Government's response to homelessness
11 February 2015
'I welcome the Government's very quick response to the homelessness issue through its resourcing of homeless services in Dublin. This has been a very particular issue of which we are all aware. We are all aware of the tragedies and deaths of homeless people and it is good to see initiatives like the night cafés being rolled out so swiftly.'
Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Senator Ivana Bacik: I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Paudie Coffey. I support the Labour Party Private Members' motion on the subject of housing to which Senators Aideen Hayden, Denis Landy, Marie Moloney and other colleagues have spoken with great eloquence. Having listened to Senator Sean D. Barrett, we would all agree with him on the adverse consequences for Irish society of the commodification - in fact, the fetishisation - of property to be bought and sold, rather than used as a home, somewhere we live. During the boom years not enough attention was paid to this aspect of the housing bubble.
There is a serious issue following years of neglect. There was the absence of a social housing construction programme during the boom years. Because of this, we are now facing the very serious issues addressed in the motion of rising rents, long waiting lists for public housing and the scandal of families being left homeless. This is a legacy issue which the Government has to tackle. A good deal of it is down to the lack of housing supply in particular areas where there are long waiting lists, as Senator Denis Landy and others discussed. It is very positive to see a social housing construction programme being announced, for which I commend the Minister of State and the Minister, Deputy Alan Kelly. We all welcome the social housing strategy which aims to deliver 35,000 social homes, with a further 75,000 homes in the private rented sector by 2020. There is to be a large capital investment programme. There is no doubt such a programme is long overdue and the sort of investment we should have seen when money was available. It will have a tangible effect in tackling what is a serious problem, although there are other measures that need to be taken, including, in particular, providing some protection for those in the private rented sector.
Other measures need to be put in place and in particular we need some form of protection for those in the private rented sector now. Some form of rent regulation is a necessity and I agree with all of those who raised that issue.
Finally, I welcome the Government's very quick response to the homelessness issue through its resourcing of homeless services in Dublin. This has been a very particular issue of which we are all aware. We are all aware of the tragedies and deaths of homeless people and it is good to see initiatives like the night cafés being rolled out so swiftly.