Demand for housing ‘to get worse before it gets better’

Demand for housing will get even worse before it gets better the Housing Minister has admitted.

Eoghan Murphy has also stressed the need for a more co-ordinated approach from charities who work in the homeless sector.

The warning comes after the director of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, Eileen Gleeson, suggested that there are too many homeless groups and volunteers who give out food and sleeping bags to people sleeping rough are “not helpful”.

Asked whether there are too many homeless charities, Mr Murphy replied: “We need to have these charities because they are funded by the taxpayer to do this work.

“It’s not a question of the number of them, it’s a question of whether they are putting the supports in place in a co-ordinated fashion.

“Our levels of homelessness are unacceptable and we are facing a crisis.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week In Politics, Mr Murphy said the pressures for more homes will include because “our demographics, our population is growing faster than anywhere else in Europe, and we are returning to full employment which is putting pressures on the system”.

The ERSI last week found that houses prices are likely to jump 20% in the next three years because of strong economic growth and only a modest increase in house building.

“Certain things will get worse before they get better, like in homelessness,” said Mr Murphy.

However, he claimed that the Government was on track to almost double the number of social housing units built next year.

“We are going to build significantly more houses next year — not just the State directly, through social house building, but also the private sector,” he said.

Labour housing spokeswoman Jan O’Sullivan said the narrative being put out by Government in the past week was “very disturbing, particularly for people who are homeless”.

She said comments from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who said that Ireland has one of the lowest levels of homelessness, must stop.

She criticised the Government for not building social houses quickly enough and not bringing back around 200,000 vacant homes, which she called “low-hanging fruit”, back into use.

Fianna Fáil housing spokesman Barry Cowen said that a three-pronged approach is needed to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis and claimed there “are never too many homeless charities”.

Mr Cowen hit out at the Government’s record on addressing homelessness. saying: “They are trying their best, but what they are doing is just not working.”

Mr Varadkar and Mr Murphy are due to unveil a foundation stone marking the construction of 84 social homes in Clongriffin, Dublin, this morning.

This scheme is one of the largest Part V developments to come on stream in some time. It forms part of the Iveagh Trust’s target of delivering 650 additional units by 2020, having already delivered 70 units as part of a supported housing scheme for older people in Ballyfermot, earlier this year.

The development is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2019 and all of the new homes will be made available to individuals and families on Dublin City Council’s housing waiting list.

Business: 18


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