The housing crisis and homelessness


A chara, – Eliminating the supply of social housing and the promotion of ever-increasing rents has been a government policy for many years. It is quite simply designed to support profits in the private housing sector. This is not a new nor exclusive policy but one shared by the two main political parties.

On November 4th, 2000, Ireland sought and secured an exclusion from Article 31 in the revised version of the European Social Charter. Article 31 stated that: “With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right to housing, the parties undertake to take measures designed: 1. to promote housing of an adequate standard. 2. To prevent and reduce homelessness with a view to its gradual elimination. 3. To make the price of housing accessible to those without adequate resources.”

These provisions are as unacceptable now as they were almost two decades ago. Promoting housing shortage has driven Nama sales and vulture fund investment. It has, and continues to be a Government policy by the few, for the few.

The welfare of those who cannot afford a home is of secondary importance to the return to profitability of the banks, and in 2000 the welfare of those who could not afford a home was subverted to drive the profits and interests of private developers.– Is mise,


Cape Town,

South Africa.

A chara, – Recent comments by Government and other agencies on homelessness put me in mind of the words of Seamus Heaney, when he wrote of “the disregarded ones we turned against/Because we’d failed them by our disregard”. – Is mise,