Thursday, 24th August 2017
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Ireland's housing crisis is getting worse and government targets for dealing with homelessness are not being met. This is causing real suffering, says Una Dunphy of People Before Profit, and is a disaster that could be avoided if the Government stopped relying on the private business sector to provide housing for homeless families.

The homeless are being left in emergency accommodation for a lot longer than expected and the government's main ‘move-on option' is family hubs, which are multi-family hostels for which rent is charged. These, however, look set to become the new poor law institutions of the future.

The government's policy, says Ms Dunphy, of relying on the private market to solve the housing crisis has failed. That same private market gave us the Celtic Tiger bust – so it is hardly surprising that it won't solve the current housing crisis.

People Before Profit believes that there has to be decisive state intervention. There needs to be a major programme of council house building, rather than a permanent policy of subsidising private landlords. If council houses could be built on a grand scale in the 1950s, that can also be done today.

There should be a freeze on all rent rises and a reduction of rents to 2011 levels. Tenants and mortgage holders must be offered proper protection from vulture funds that carry out a strategy of evictions to bump up profits. Where there are demonstrable cases of genuine economic distress, no eviction should take place.

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