Lack of council housing reaches crisis levels

photo: Lee Bonass

photo: Lee Bonass

Over 16,000 households are now waiting for council housing in Dublin as local councillors describe the situation as a crisis.

It could take as long as ten years for an applicant to receive council accommodation in the city due to the lack of availability of suitable accommodation and as the drop off in new builds increases.

Some 55% of applicants that are waiting to be housed are single, while 30% are lone parent families and 77% are dependent on social welfare.

Assistant city manager with responsibility for housing Dick Brady admitted that the council does not have sufficient houses in their stock to suit their applicants’ needs.

“There are one-bed apartments in the council’s stock that had been considered too small for modern living that could be released for use”. He said.

He also went on to say that the council would find it difficult to borrow any more money for new builds because it would ‘increase’ the national debt.

There has also been a steady decrease in new builds by the council, despite the rising demand for council houses in the city.

Since 2009, there has been a ten-fold decrease in new houses being built by the council,  with only 26 built last year, in comparison to 265 in 2009.

Capital investment by the city council has also dropped 70% in five years, from €1.4bn in 2007 to €400m in 2012.

An option now being looked at by the council is to obtain empty units from the National Assists Management Agency (NAMA) in order to relieve some of the backlog.

There are currently 480 empty units on NAMA’s books that would fit the council’s needs.

Independent Councillor Christy Burke said: “The Council should obtain empty units from the National Asset Management Agency and set up a task force to put the empty units in the city back into use.”

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