Many people are sleeping rough and were it not for the Cork Simon Community and St Vincent de Paul many more would be left on our streets. Exorbitant rents for private accommodation and planning regulations are putting many more families on the poverty line.
Planning permission for one-off homes is proving a financial nightmare for many young couples because of the stringency and frivolous objections from some of the more affluent members of society.
A great number of new houses are being purchased not by people wishing to live in them but by speculators planning to rent them at exorbitant rents. Speculators have been turning their attention to local authority estates.
So-called investors, usually from leafy suburbs, purchase houses for sale, and then rent them at exorbitant rates to people who cannot afford to buy their own homes and who are sometimes also on the local authority waiting lists, where they wait for years for an allocation.
More often than not, the exorbitant rents are heavily subsidised, RAS and others. This amount to insidious speculation in the housing market. The result is to push the price of homes in these estates way beyond the reach of young adult members of families settled in these estates who wish to live beside parents and siblings.
These young adults find themselves priced out of contention and out of any hope of purchasing a home in their local community, or at all. It adds insult to injury that taxpayers’ money is funding this aspect of speculation.
These speculators are parasites. They benefit from misery and, in turn, cause more of it by pushing the possibility of a home beyond the reach of those who desperately need it.
Successive governments have allowed speculators to run riot. Firstly, the failure to have an emergency programme of house building is creating a situation where rents are going through the roof.
Secondly, the carte blanche given to landowners and speculators to charge any price for buildings on land rezoned for housing is an outrage.
Thirdly, the total failure of successive governments to halt the obscene profiteering, in the new housing market, is allowing this kind of speculation to thrive.
In my recent visit to of some of these victims, I was shocked and astonished and almost ashamed to be a public representative, to allow such conditions to exist.
The Government must take action to halt speculation and profiteering, in the basic human need for shelter. For a Christian country the blind eye and deaf ear treatment must cease, if we have any respect for our less fortunate brethren.
Cllr Noel Collins