New rules offer touch of realism - Housing crisis

WHEN some of the reasons given by prospective local authority tenants for rejecting a publicly funded home were published recently, the responses were not always as kind as an exemplary Christian might wish them to be. 

Nevertheless, the publication highlighted a sense of entitlement that seems out of kilter with the real world and the realities facing those who are obliged to provide their own accommodation.

The excuses offered by unimpressed but hopeful tenants ranged from not having enough room in a garden for a trampoline to a concern that a view of the nearby sea might make children seasick. Of course, these are extreme instances, or at least it is hoped that they are, and the great majority of people who depend on this process are realistic.

Though the sea-view and trampoline excuses were provocative it was even more frustrating that local authorities had to accept them as valid and make a new offer to the unhappy homeseekers. That, however, is about to change.

Cork County Council has decided that applicants will have just a week instead of two weeks to make a decision on an offer of a house and that three refusals will mean losing their place on the housing list. This may restore some sanity to the process but it obliges the local authority to ensure that any home offered is of a very good standard. Anything less would be unacceptable and a betrayal of the idea of helping those who need help, a principle that this society still cherishes.

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