Wednesday, 18th October 2017
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This week Councillor Eamon Quinlan revealed new numbers for the Council’s housing stock revealing gaps are beginning to show in relation to the Council finding itself with an ever-decreasing number of houses at a time of intense demand by some of the most in need across the entire County.

The main issue for the Council is the success of the Tenant Purchase scheme and how these houses once released from Council control are not being replaced. Cllr Quinlan said. “The Tenant Purchase scheme has in my opinion been a great success and I have personally assisted numerous local families get onto it but the expected second phase, where the Government would either build social housing or pass funds onto the Council to allow us to build social housing at a speed and quantity to cover the number of houses leaving into private ownership has not taken place."

The figures surrounding this revelation are that the Local Authority has received to date, 176 applications by people living in social housing to buy their homes as part of the scheme. Of these, so far 91 have either been fully sold or are at the stage where an active financial offer has been made, the first major step to their selling. At the same time, figures showing the number of people in the Waterford area applying to get onto the Social Housing list have reached an accumulative number of 777 with each application representing anything from a single individual to a family of 4 or 5. This equates to thousands of people from adults to children in need of assistance for housing while at the same time the total number of houses built by the Local Authority over the last year is a mere 15 and all of which were based in Dungarvan.

“This clearly shows a lack of Governmental planning. For us to be in a situation where potentially almost 100 houses are about to leave the social housing list and to only have 15 coming on stream means the chances of housing the overwhelming numbers of families seeking our help grows harder and harder to achieve. All members of the Local Authority are part of a front line service and we deal with the housing crisis on a daily basis. It is truly heartbreaking to be asked by a child if their family will be made homeless and know that there simply are not enough houses in our system to cope. I find myself reaching for our homeless services division to arrange emergency accommodation on so many occasions that talk from Ministers launching plan after plan for cameras on how they will make it all better is hard to even watch. I accept their point that houses are not built in a day but this crisis has been self evident for those who wished to see it for years now. Even when they propose something of value like the Tenant Purchase scheme, they don’t seem to have the joined up thinking to realise that they should also replace the houses leaving the social housing system at a time of high demand or at the end of day it means it curtails our ability to house, home and hopefully one day pass a home into private ownership thereby not only assisting in placing a roof over families heads but providing one of the largest shot in the arms in positively promoting social mobility.", said Cllr Quinlan.

Another main point of contention raised by Councillor Quinlan was the disparity in terms of the City lagging behind Dungarvan in housing builds. The two main drivers here are population and popularity. The City holding over 4 times the population of Dungarvan means that as a proportion most people would have assumed the number of units constructed would be 60 in the City to keep everything on par but with a number of 0 a reaction of astonishment and not a little bit of indignity was felt by local representatives. The second key factor is popularity. People completing social housing application forms are asked to indicate the three preferred areas across the City and County they wish to register for. Most people factor in common sense reasons such as areas where their children go to school, they work or have family in the area. This overwhelmingly skews many applications into City areas.

“We need to do everything we can at a local level and must not be shy that if the Government is dropping the ball in terms of financing housing provision programmes then they must be called out on it and they must listen to those of us that are here."

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