Change tack - St Vincent de Paul on housing

FOR generations, the Society of St Vincent de Paul has stood between this society’s most vulnerable citizens and the kind of calamity most of us can hardly imagine.

It has been largely apolitical and focussed almost exclusively on the huge challenge it set itself.

However, in its pre-budget submission, which it launched yesterday, the organisation challenged official policy on how the housing crisis might be partially resolved — and it is hard not to agree with their analysis.

The organisation argues that the expectation that the private sector might provide 70% of the housing needed over the next few years, and that balance would be provided by various State agencies, is overly optimistic. They suggest that reversing those ratios would be a far more realistic proposal.

Experience shows that reliance on the private sector — the market — to service social needs is not always prudent so an alternative plan might be more successful.

This would also force Government to accept its role in this sorry saga, and once again provide social housing.

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