Support groups broadly welcome social housing strategy

Focus Ireland calls for short-term help for homeless, and Threshold expresses concern about the timeframe involved

Minister of State Paudie Coffey and Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly at the launch of the Social Housing Strategy 2020. Photograph: Eric Luke

Minister of State Paudie Coffey and Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly at the launch of the Social Housing Strategy 2020. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

The new social housing strategy has received a broad welcome from groups working with the homeless and from the voluntary housing sector.

However, support groups said the strategy offered nothing to the many people who were currently homeless or facing unaffordable rent increases which threatened to leave them without accommodation.

The voluntary housing sector expressed concerns about the speed with which money could be accessed to enable associations to get started on housing construction to meet the targets, and also about the capacity of local authorities to meet their targets.

Focus Ireland said it would take “at least 18 months” for the strategy to even begin to deliver homes. In addition to the new programme an effective short-term strategy was necessary to tackle the crisis of family and single-person homelessness, it said.

The organisation’s director of advocacy, Mike Allen, said: “The new strategy is very welcome, but the fact remains that it does nothing today for the over 400 families who have become homeless in Dublin alone so far this year and the 40 to 50 families who will sadly lose their homes and become homeless this month and next month in the run-up to Christmas.”

The Threshold housing charity welcomed the promised €3.8 billion investment in housing, but chief executive Bob Jordan expressed concern about the timeframe involved.

“There are thousands of families throughout Ireland with a housing need right now,” he said.

“They cannot afford to wait for two or more years, while the Government gets new social housing construction underway. They need assistance right now.”