One homeless charity says the government’s housing plan is moving far too slowly.
HOMELESS CHARITIES HAVE said that this week’s housing report from the Central Statistics Office underlines the scale of Ireland’s housing crisis.
The CSO’s special profile on housing, based on Census 2016, found that the country increased its housing supply by just 0.4% in the five-year period of 2011 to 2016.
This is in stark contrast to the change in Ireland’s housing stock during the peak of the Celtic Tiger between 2002 and 2006, when the number of units grew by 21.2%.
Ireland’s population grew by 173,613 between 2011 and 2016. The country’s overall population grew by 322,645 between 2002 and 2006.
This chart encapsulates the disparity in the growth in housing stock between the two time periods:
Housing Minister Simon Coveney has said the CSO findings confirm the need to focus on housing supply, and reiterated that it is a priority for the government.
The housing stock figures present a “stark story,” Coveney told RTÉ radio on Thursday.
Coveney launched the government’s ambitious Rebuilding Ireland plan last summer – pledging, amongst other priorities, to spend over €5 billion on social housing over five years.
In a recent statement on the housing supply situation, Coveney said his department had already made a number of changes to the planning system to speed up applications.
Commencement Notices in the 12 months to January 2017 were up 44% year on year, he said, while planning permissions were up by around 20% by the end of 2016.
To be accurate: more that 33,000 new builds since 2011, but net housing stock only increased by 8,800, supply increase is now big priority https://t.co/zHc4daKAoH
— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) April 20, 2017
Source: Simon Coveney/Twitter
Focus Ireland said this week’s findings show that despite some well-meaning policies being developed by government, they are clearly not tough enough to solve the housing and homelessness crisis.
Niamh Randall of the Simon Communities said the picture painted by the CSO report was a troubling one.
“A supply of decent, affordable homes will prevent more people from becoming homeless and ensure that people can leave homelessness behind,” Randall said.
“We very much welcome that Minister Simon Coveney and the government have acknowledged that housing and homelessness are interconnected and, through ‘Rebuilding Ireland’, have produced a plan that looks at these areas together for the first time.
However, the government’s plan is moving far too slowly. In the absence of sufficient supply of social housing, the private sector is not capable of delivering the housing needed to respond given the sheer scale of the problem.
The numbers of people pushed into homelessness and housing insecurity continues to rise.
You can view the full housing report on the CSO website.