When Anthony Met The Housing Minister

at

This morning.

Outside Custom House.

Where an “emergency housing summit” is taking place in which the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy will meet CEOs of the local authorities across Ireland and their housing personnel.

And further to the Department of Housing releasing figures yesterday which show 8,160 homeless people – more than a third of whom are children – were living in emergency accommodation in the last week of July.

Anthony Flynn, of Inner City Helping Homeless, a voluntary group which has been helping homeless people in Dublin for the past four years, confronted Mr Murphy.

From their exchange:

Anthony Flynn: “We’ve looked for several meetings with you.”

Eoghan Murphy: “We have a huge amount of people…”

Talk over each other

Flynn: “We understand that. But ou’re bringing the CEOs in here today. The people who are actually on the ground, doing the work on a nightly basis, that are looking at these people that are dying on our streets. We’ve had five deaths in less than a week and your office has failed to communicate to us, with regard to…hang on, let me finish.”

Murphy: “Yeah, sorry.”

Flynn:Not only the work that we’re doing for the last four years on the streets but the My Name Is campaign has travelled this country in regards to child homelessness and the unprecedented levels of child homelessness that are happening at the moment. And yet we haven’t had the respect of a reply from your office.”

Your predecessor Simon Coveney would meet me in the Gresham Hotel on a weekly basis to discuss issues in regards to homelessness, yet your office couldn’t do that.”

“Now we’re here today, you’re calling in the CEOs of the local council. We’ve heard from the Housing SPC chair that the council haven’t got the money to build, that your department is not releasing that money to build housing, ok.”

“Now social housing can’t be built because the CEOs haven’t got a mandate because they haven’t got money.”

“So if they haven’t got the money, how are they expected to build. This meeting today could be a waste of time in our opinion if the CEOs are not being given the money from your department.”

Your department have consistently relied on the voluntary housing bodies, the voluntary housing bodies to build and look for money from Europe to build because your department doesn’t want to have to take that money.”

“Or Paschal Donoghue doesn’t want to have to take that money down because it affects your GDP and it affects the market.”

Murphy: “Can I respond? There’s not a problem with funding at all. This year we’re going to build four times as many social houses that we built in 2015 and we have more money to re-prioritise that into social housing as well.

“The local authorities have to work with the housing bodies to actually build new houses and that’s what we want to do. Hold on, I’m here talking to you now and I’ll talk to anyone about the issue but I’m working on this every day.”

“It’s a top priority for the Government and you need to understand that.”

“The reason the local authority chiefs are coming in today is because I’m funding them directly and they’re directly responsible to me. We’re building social housing and dealing with this crisis and that’s what we’re talking about today.”

Previously: How Many?

Via Sean Defoe

UPDATE:

How many is that exactly?

Oh.

Via NAMAwinelake

Meanwhile…

Inside the summit…

And outside…

Sean Defoe tweetz:

And the award for best prop at a photocall goes to Paul Murphy and Solidarity’s elephant in the room about homelessness.

Pics via Sean Defoe

85 thoughts on “When Anthony Met The Housing Minister

  1. A snowflake's chance in hell

    Good response from Eoghan, he seems like a capable lad and will sort this out in time

    1. Otis Blue

      Ya think?

      Thus far he looks completely out of his depth. Needs to move beyond the staged “Action Man” photo ops (loosened tie, rolled up sleeves, jogging with Leo, etc.,).

      He has much to prove.

      1. A snowflake's chance in hell

        Yes I do, of course he’s been handed a poison chalice but I have a lot of faith in his ability to cut through the crap, he handled this fool expertly

          1. A snowflake's chance in hell

            If you’ve nothing of use to contribute other than schoolgirl inanity best to keep it quiet

  2. nellyb

    They are mad there, in Philippines, ain’t they? Social cleansing and all. Praise be to god we’re nothing like them.

  3. phil

    I assume that those local authority staff will be putting in a fat expense claim for showing up at the meeting, maybe lunch will be provided for them for free , and the minister will receive his payment for travelling to work , on top of his 2 salaries. Anthony Flynn, of Inner City Helping Homeless, a voluntary group, likely took the bus at his own expense, and will have to buy his own lunch ….

    1. A snowflake's chance in hell

      What’s your point? If he wants to apply for a job in Department of Environment see publicjobs.ie

      1. curmudgeon

        I think it might be because us tax payers might be a bit peeved how the government has set its pay and perks to benefit themselves instead of using exchequer funds to the betterment of the country and the society as a whole. Not just for public and civil servents who make up their largest voting block. Besides we can’t all be in the public service now can we, private sector workers need to work hard in the real economy to keep that bloated,inefficent and unfairly pensioned show on the road.

        1. A snowflake's chance in hell

          Personalised ad hominem attacks achieve nothing

          “the government” is our government, it’s your government, it’s mine and everyone elses

          if you don’t agree with how it works for you then do something about it, lobby your TD and start an online campaign for better quality public services, instead of personally attacking the people who are after all for the most part just doing their job and answer directly to government ministers.

      2. Tucker

        Hmmm, A snowflake’s chance in hell, you seem to be coming across quite right-wing and trollish, what with the glib, heartless replies, calling people fools and schoolgirls, and the heavy, hostile defence of the minister. Just checking that that’s the feeling you are going for here?

        1. Bookworm

          What the actual fupp is wrong with you people?
          Can’t a man express his opinion without some to-ridden badger savaging him like an oul wan?

          1. Janet, I ate my avatar

            do you like swivel around in your chair when you change persona?
            it’s making you dizzy

      1. Yeah, Ok

        There’s a real groundswell of suspicion rising against many homeless charities. It’s unfortunate for the grassroots ad hoc guys doing soup runs and the like but there is some serious, ridiculous, catastrophic mismanagement of funds going on in Ireland’s homeless industry.

        Despite what many would have you believe, Ireland’s homeless problem is actually not nearly as bad as most other similarly developed countries. Having around 200 people actually on the streets is a tiny number in the scheme of things, and a statistical inevitability given our population and our average levels of drug use and mental health issues. Don’t get me wrong, anyone sleeping on the street is a problem, but it’s been blown way out of proportion as the glamour cause du jour.
        Our figure of 8000 “homeless” that includes families and such in hotels and emergency accommodation is a function of our utterly dysfunctional housing market and a non-existent effort to provide social housing. It’s disingenuous to conflate the two “types” of homeless and pretend we having 8000 people sleeping on the streets, and it only plays into the hands of the major players in what has become a billion euro industry.
        Don’t forget that a large 6 figure sum is spent annually on each and every homeless person in Ireland. And yet the problem is getting worse? Curious…

        1. Nigel

          So we don’t have a homeless crisis but we do have an 8000-people-in-temporary-crisis accommodation but that’s because the homeless charities are manufacturing the crisis by manipulating the housing market and they keep cleverly conflating the two types of homelessness by coming onto the radio and television and talking about the problems and drawbacks and dire consequences of having all these people living in temporary accommodation and seek to perpetuate the crisis by constantly calling on the government to take steps to end it. Good one.

          1. Yeah, Ok

            “So we don’t have a homeless crisis but we do have an 8000-people-in-temporary-crisis accommodation…”
            You say this to denigrate me but yes, that is exactly what we have. The numbers of rough sleepers we have are not a national crisis no matter what you say. Tragic circumstances, absolutely. Could we do more, absolutely. Will we always have a certain number of rough sleepers, absolutely. Go to any UK, European, or US city and see how their rough sleepers stack up to ours. Drug policy review and mental health funding would do much more to help our rough sleepers than throwing good money after bad on homeless charities.
            I have consistently said that a vast programme of social house building is the only solution to our “8000-people-in-temporary-crisis accommodation” crisis. Nothing else will solve that, least of all supply side incentives for developers, which seems to be the only game in town for our politicians.

            The homeless charities DO “cleverly” conflate the two types of homelessness.
            They do consistently call for social housing as well, which is of course noble and right, but anyone who tries to say that our billion euro yearly spend on homelessness is working in the slightest is deluded.

          2. Nigel

            I don’t even disagree with most of what you say, but however faulty the homeless charities might be, i find casting them as a malicious player in the crisis just plain weird.

          3. Nigel

            Probably not by deliberately manufaturing and perpetuating a homeless crisis. Since charities by their nature are obliged to devote significant efforts to fundraising and since the government seems to be relying on charities to bear the brunt of the crisis I’m not sure why justifying the ridiculous budgets that results is a fault of the charities.

          4. AnAccountant

            “How else would Cork’s Simon’s 76 employees justify their €6.5m budget otherwise?”

            Are you serious? Have I mistakenly found myself on the comments section of the Fox News website?

          5. AnAccountant

            Because we have a massive homelessness problem and our right wing, small” government” full of landlords are doing nothing about it so lots of ‘disparate’ people banded together in different groups to try and do something about it? That’s probably a more realistic guess than ‘scammers are making a mint from a racket.’

          6. Rob_G

            On Fact Checker’s figures above: Simon’s €6.5m divided by Cork’s 170 rough sleepers works out at more than €38k per homeless person.

            ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          7. AnAccountant

            They also have bills to pay. People working in these charities need to pay their rent. The charity needs to pay its own rent. Your suspicion is based purely on the amount of money they have? Really?

          8. Rob_G

            If you think that the construction industry can quintuple its output in the space of a year, is doesn’t surprise me that you think that spending €38k per homeless person per year is somehow an efficient use of the state’s resources.

          9. AnAccountant

            So you’re completely ignoring the fact that these guys have other costs as well. Every penny they have is just to be spent on individual homeless people. They don’t have to pay overheads or anything. Fair enough so.

    2. Otis Blue

      The calibre and standard of our local authorities is woeful. Ineffective, unaccountable and generally useless.

      You’re right about the expenses and the lunch though. These types like their grub.

  4. Eamonn Clancy

    They could build 20,000 new homes tomorrow and we’ll still have people on the streets. The roots of homelessness lie in drink, drugs and violence. Some other unfortunates are on the streets because they borrowed more than they could afford. Unlike those of us who didn’t but are still paying for it.

    1. Paul

      So build the houses and tackle the other problems as well. Mentioning one problem doesn’t cancel out another.

        1. Paul

          And if those houses are made available, offered and rejected, then there is clearly something else on the table. While I can understand wanting to be within travel distance from Dublin for employment purposes (and only employment purposes), if you’re homeless and suffering, any roof should be accepted.

          1. Paul

            that’s disappointing. I’d have some sympathy if there were kids involved but a half-decent transport network eliminates most ‘not close to schools’ reasons for rejection.

            “it’s not close to my parents/friends” is probably a more accurate reason for some rejections.

          2. Nigel

            People seem bewildered and outraged that the most powerless people in the country dare to try to have some control over their lives and some say in the bureaucratic process. I don’t know whether the reasons for refusals are good or bad – though lack of access to schools and shops and the houses being deemed unsuitable if they’re too small or far from employment opportunities seem like good reasons to me – but perhaps we should try to remember that the homeless are people and not faceless drones to be squeezed in wherever space can be found. There is, after all, no shortage of empty houses in Dublin, either.

          3. Nigel

            ‘“it’s not close to my parents/friends” is probably a more accurate reason for some rejections.’

            That’s not necessarily a trivial reason, though. Isolation can exacerbate mental health problems and is leading to horrible rates of suicide in rural areas.

          4. Paul

            Turning that around, my wife and I are currently house-hunting and with our resources there will be a certain amount of ‘making do’ with what we can afford (ie. not much). As long as it’s not a cesspit in the middle of nowhere and is suitable for the kid(s) we hope to have, we’ll take it. If someone were offered a half-decent house with access to transport links and amenities and they rejected it, my sympathy for them would drop significantly.

          5. Rob_G

            @ Nigel –

            Like Paul said, people who work and pay rent and mortgages have to make compromises when choosing where to live; why should people who are being housed by the state (courtesy of the rent and mortgage payers, at the end of the day) get to pick and choose?

          6. A snowflake's chance in hell

            Yeah well said Paul

            Nigel as usual was too busy virtue signalling to express any concern whatsoever for the actual sacrifices people like you, me or those who want to build a better life for our families make do with all the time

          7. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            We have to find a new home at the moment. We’re paying a fair whack of cash to take a place that, if I had a choice, I wouldn’t even look at. But beggars can’t be choosers. I’m far less tolerant of serial refusers of social housing than I might have been otherwise right now.

          8. Nigel

            You would use every piece of leverage at your disposal to get the best place possible for you and your family. Why shouldn’t they? If you’re homeless and suffering you have nothing to lose by pushing for the best you can get, probably because you already have an acute awareness that simply having a roof alone is not an answer to all your problems. I don’t particularly like this attitude that homeless people having any sort of choice or say in where they live is somehow immoral or wrong. Inconvenient, perhaps, but then again, people often are.

          9. Rob_G

            Your answer seems to be ‘if you complain loud and long enough, and you will get someone else to pay for it eventually’.

            Which, going on experience, actually is the case, but I am not sure it is the way things should work…

            You seem to be working from the basis that being obliged to move to a new area is some awful undertaking or injustice; people have to move for jobs and college and things all the time. It’s part of life, most people just get on with it.

          10. Yeah, Ok

            Nigel when using every piece of leverage at your disposal exclusively involves costing a 6 figure sum for every person every year, as well as clogging up an already ineffective system for the other unfortunates stuck in it, a bit of pragmatism from the homeless individual would go a long way when you consider they are being given a home; literally being given a cure for their most immediate problem.

            We don’t have enough social houses, we don’t have a functioning rental market, and we have 8000 people living in hotels and other dingy holes. Yet people think they can reject an “inconvenient” free house when the alternative is a big, fat, insanely expensive (for the state) nothing?

          11. Nigel

            Well, yes, I get all that, both of you. But a six-figure sum being spent every year on a homeless person is not the homeless person’s problem. Getting a half-decent home is their problem, and I think they can be forgiven for not seeing beyond that. The six-figure sum is a disgrace and a scandal not for the homeless and not for the homeless charities – it’s simply horrifically inefficient and wasteful to rely on charity to deal with a problem of this scale – but to the government who have let this develop and grow for years and years. Don’t condemn the homeless for complaining long enough and loud enough. Follow their example, and complain long enough and loud enough to the government until they feckin do something about this. Forcing homeless people to take homes that don’t suit them isn’t going to achieve anything substantial, other than make Snowflake feel good about bullying poor people.

          12. Yeah, Ok

            Nigel, we’re obviously coming at this from different sides but we’re converging on the main point. Government-built social housing on an enormous scale is the ONLY way out of this. Fudging the rules to pad the developers’ profit margins is not working, has never worked, and is mathematically impossible to work (how can we efficiently – read cheaply – get social housing built by increasing the profits granted to private interests?).
            As the situation stands right now, though, anyone offered accommodation (that is up to a decent standard) has a moral and social obligation to accept it. Whether it’s a dub moving to Cavan or vice versa, that is the price to pay. As is often used to argue this point, everyone in society bar a very lucky few have to make this sacrifice. I live 300km away from my family and home place. You just deal with it. Every person who refuses perfectly liveable accommodation is exacerbating the problems for everyone else.

          13. Nigel

            Yeah ok – fair enough. Social housing seems to be the solution, though I have a sick suspicion it won’t solve whatever deeper structural problems are keeping prices and rents sky-high. We’ll have to agree to disagree about homeless people choosing, though I get what you’re saying about your own tough choices. I’m sure some of them are being unreasonable and difficult, because people are like that, but I’m sure most are just trying to have some say in lives that must seem otherwise completely out of their control.

          14. Rob_G

            @ Nigel –

            I think its fair enough for someone looking for the state to house them to express preference for where they live, and for the state to meet that preference when it is feasible, but at the moment it just isn’t feasible.

          15. scottser

            in my experience working for local authorities, the main reasons for rejection were the housing type on offer. RAS or voluntary housing is not as desirable to some, partly because they have heard anecdotally that it is easier to be evicted and tenants must be more accountable than in a traditional, council-owned home.
            location and proximity to family and friends were secondary.

    2. Mary Quinn

      Nothing to do with vulture funds? Rents spiraling out of normal peoples income? Landlords ”selling up” only to rent the same house out a few months later at a higher rent?
      It’s FG policy to do NOTHING about any of these issues.

      1. A snowflake's chance in hell

        The bums who can’t cope with the reality of life in time will be driven out of the high rent areas and crime will go down resulting in a lower social cost.

          1. A snowflake's chance in hell

            No you cop on.

            I work damn hard for a living, why should I fund your social engineering fantasies?

            You want to help the drug addicts let them move into your home.

      2. Weldoninhio

        Sample of percentage refusals of been offered social housing.

        Dublin City Council 18% refusal

        Dún-Laoghaire Rathdown Co 37% refusal.

          1. scottser

            choice based lettings is the only solution to the high numbers of refusals. it’s supposed to be rolled out nationally but some of the more rural county councilors are against it as it will remove their interference in the allocations process. it can’t come quick enough, imo.

      1. Milo

        What would you actually do Nigel? Besides come in here every day and tut tut and judge everyone? From their actions to their thoughts to their language, you sneakily bully people while you yourself propose nothing. Hurler on the ditch. Too many people are trying to make hay from the homeless. Tripping over each other with dignity, equality, inclusion and the whole lexicon of competitive compassion. But actually propose nothing. The Glen Hansards of Broadsheet.

        1. Nigel

          First of all, you should think about why you asked me that question rather than, say, Eamonn or Snowflake or even yourself. Second of all, ask yourself what it is you think attacking homeless charities and Glen Hansard rather than focusing on the government will actually achieve. Third of all, why does the language of compassion seem to ignite such a red-hot rage in you and Eamon and Snowflake etc? It’s not about me, Milo, it’s about you. I can’t solve the crisis. Nor can you. Nor can Glen Hansard. The government can. It just doesn’t seem to want to.

          1. Milo

            Ah, so you have no answers. Just blame and pointing. More empty rhetoric about “correct” behaviour. Why do you feel the need to come online every day and judge everyone about their tone, language and beliefs- when you actually have nothing to offer the world but your sneering and condescending criticism. You just compound the problem by toxifying the context in which people are actually trying to fix it.

          2. A snowflake's chance in hell

            “the government” is me and you and Milo Nigel

            Why Milo is keeping tabs on you is because all you do in here is wail about the inhumanity of it all, while never seeming to make any effort whatsoever to consider the working poor,the people who get up in the morning and actually make an effort to improve their OWN lives, rather than wait for some handout

            just ONCE, just ONCE nigel, maybe you can find it in your heart to think about someone, ANYONE other than some obscure vested interest or poor put upon craythur ‘the government’ is not devising some special needs policy for.

        2. A snowflake's chance in hell

          Well said Milo. It’s actually mind numbing how little productive work these twits appear to do

  5. v.pip (sometimes off the telly)

    Hello there

    If anyone was watching that Broadsheet in the Telly episode on Housing a while back, you might remember I briefly mentioned how the current strategy for Social Housing is to privatise it.
    – Private Sector Landlords via HAP etc
    – Private Financing via Banks and the Mortgage-Rent-Framework
    – And Private Investment Funds behind names that might suggest they’re altruistic in ethos. eg: helping you keep your home dot.ie

    Hopefully you might recognise there is a common bond as such here:
    The Central Bank; who also control MARP which in turn controls the Family Home provisions in Personal Insolvency Act – therefore the very profession and statutory instrument created to assist this Housing Crisis tsunami

    This is why Capital is being withheld from your Local Council’s Housing Department and your local Voluntary Housing Association.

    Anyone reading this must accept that you can either endorse the privatisation of the Social Housing needs in our communities; or you can object and resist it, and demand that complete responsibility for Social Housing needs in your area is managed and controlled within your area.

    I can tell you all this in complete confidence; one of you reading this will require housing assistance in the future. Be it in a care setting or needing a wheelchair accessible and adapted dwelling because you or your children may have special needs.

    It could be anything from an acquired brain injury or an permanent illness like uncontrollable epilepsy diagnosis that can change your accommodation needs over night.

    I have a boot load of cases to prove this.

    You can object, critique or deny all of the above
    But I can tell you all in all honesty and without any doubts

    It is in your interest as citizens of this State to insist that decision making and control of the Residential, Housing and Accommodation needs of your community, be they owner occupier, private landlord rental, social housing tenancies REMAINS UNDER THE DIRECT JURISDICTION AND CONTROL OF YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITY.

    Thanks for reading

      1. v.pip (sometimes off the telly)

        Apologies
        I didn’t realise I was vague

        Ireland is currently relying on the Private Sector to address our Housing and Accommodation crisis

        Private Landlords, Privately owned Hotels and Guest Houses, Hostels, are the go- to for emergency accommodation, housing lists and even Direct Provision. The Government would also have the Private Sector do the planning, building, and control the future supply so may encourage some tax incentives as promoted by Fianna Fail.

        This current Government most definitely want all Social Housing and Affordable Housing to be funded by the Private Sector.
        Ye have all watched Health Care transfer bit by bit to the Private Sector.

        Let the Local Authorities and Voluntary Housing sector borrow money from National Treasury
        What about a new National Solidarity Bond type product?

        It is not in your own interests to let this; the Strategy for Social Housing and the Private Owner Occupier Housing needs in your community, in the hands of a Government Dept and a Minister that has no permanent record in the area or even any tenure.

        Local Authorities and active Local Voluntary Housing Associations are the solution.

        Give them the control.

        1. A snowflake's chance in hell

          How are they the ‘solution’?

          I’m not sure what you’re smoking but aren’t they the bums who built nothing for years and allowed this situation to get out of control, the same way they screwed up management of the water infrastructure, bin and waste disposal etc, leaving the government no choice but to turn to the private sector to provide these essential services in a cost effective way?

          If your only argument is ‘private sector -bad’, ‘public sector – good’ I’m not even going to bother replying to this – go and troll someone on the journal or politics.ie

          1. Frilly Keane

            Sorry about this
            I’m coming out of a dose of the flu so I’m still a bit distracted and disoriented

            Who exactly is the Troll here?

          2. Donal

            You do realise that councils don’t just decide to build or not build housing?
            Local councils have very limited revenue raising abilities, most of their funding is allocated to them by central government.
            In the last 15-20 years central government has stopped giving funds to councils to build houses, and has given funds to councils to pay private organisations to house the people on their housing lists (in a variety of manners).
            The buck stops with the government. Councils will build when they can. An unfortunate side effect of the govenmental policy is that the ability of councils to build has also been reduced, which as I’m sure you can understand makes things a tad bit more difficult now

    1. martco

      +1 bang on the money

      and my belief is that it’s rooted to something secret that Lenihan signed up to back in 2010

      it’s by design

      Murphy, Coveney et al bluster, analysis, pie chart this and solutions that…,it’s all pants…designed to inject it over a slow gradual period of time & gain “acceptance” by the confused citizen rather than big bang style which would have led to riots

      1. v.pip (sometimes off the telly)

        You’re right. Apologies. I didn’t go back over it.

        I’ll get the host to edit it now. Thanks Cian

  6. Eoin

    You can’t re-inflate a partially deflated housing bubble AND have affordable housing at the same time. Government should stay OUT of markets. Abolish NAMA.

  7. BobbyJ

    “This year we’re going to build four times as many social houses that we built in 2015”.

    Wasn’t 2015 the worst year on record for social house builds? Think is was less than 100.

  8. Capitan Alatriste-Jensen

    I would love to know where Anthony’s political affiliations lie because there is more to this chap than a homeless campaigner.

  9. realPolithicks

    “Murphy: “Can I respond? There’s not a problem with funding at all. This year we’re going to build four times as many social houses that we built in 2015 and we have more money to re-prioritise that into social housing as well.”

    I notice that they are very careful to never say how many “social houses” are actually being built. Four times as many as 2015 is meaningless, if they only built 100 in 2015 then they’re now building 400. Not very impressive is it?

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