Cork’s city manager has said it will “take years” for people on a soaring social housing list to secure a council property, admitting there is a six-year wait in certain parts of the city.
Tim Lucey’s frank admission came during a robust defence of the city’s housing section following criticism from some city councillors over the slow pace of social housing allocation.
He told councillors they have to be honest with constituents about the system given the economic climate, and he urged them to reflect on certain “realities”.
Mr Lucey, who formerly worked in the city’s housing allocations unit in the early 1990s, said: “It is one of the most frustrating areas to work in. But I would urge councillors to reflect on this.
“Staffing numbers in the section that deals with social housing allocations are down 15%. And the city has just 58 house allocations per month.
“The housing allocations staff are doing a superb job given the pressures and demands they face, compared to the resources available.
“We have to be honest with people. It can take up to six years to get a house in certain areas of the city.”
But he said councillors should also consider the high rate of housing offer refusals by people on the list — 66 so far this year.
The latest figures show 39 of those refusals were made by people who said they no longer wanted to be considered for a house in the area they specified, three failed to respond to the offer, seven wanted larger accommodation, and six wanted a house only.
There were 8,098 eligible applicants on the city’s social housing waiting list last month. There are 256 applicants awaiting report with 161 new applications last month alone.
Mr Lucey also restated an argument he made last year that a lot of people are on the social housing waiting list for financial reasons, and that the figures do not reflect true housing need.
A review of the list last October found 62% of applicants are in receipt of state financial housing supports, like rent allowance.
Mr Lucey said the allocations system was “above and beyond approach” and has served the city well for the last 15 to 20 years.
He stressed emergency cases are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
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