Groups demand housing policy shift

Trade unions, housing advocates, and community and campaign groups have come together to call for a radical shift in housing policy.

Groups demand housing policy shift

Trade unions, housing advocates, and community and campaign groups have come together to call for a radical shift in housing policy.

They are part of the Raise the Roof initiative to build more public housing, end evictions into homelessness, and establish a legal right to housing.

Supporters include Fr Peter McVerry, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), the National Homeless and Housing Coalition, the Union of Students in Ireland, and the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI).

The initiative will be launched at a press conference in Dublin today during which housing advocates will call for support for a special rally on October 3, organised by ICTU.

The rally is intended to draw attention to an opposition party motion on housing that is scheduled to be debated in the Dáil on the same day.

The motion is backed by Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, the Labour Party, Solidarity, Social Democrats, Green Party, and Independent4Change.

ICTU president Sheila Nunan said the housing crisis is an issue for everyone.

“It is now almost impossible for workers, young families, and students to secure decent, afford- able accommodation and this has put intolerable pressure on living standards across all sectors,” said Ms Nunan.

“We need to see a dramatic increase in the supply of quality, affordable public housing. Housing is a human right and should not be the plaything of speculators.”

Fr McVerry asked when will “the emperor” finally realise that he had no clothes.

“Homeless figures are up, house prices are up, and the fact that government policy has failed is staring us all in the face,” he said.

The old refrain from the Government that it needs more time does not “wash” anymore, said the campaigner.

“We need to see a dramatic change in policy to resolve this worsening crisis,” said Fr McVerry.

Orla O’Connor, director of the NWCI, said the housing crisis is also a women’s issue, with Ireland’s rate of female homelessness now double that of other European countries.

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