To mark World Homeless Day.
An evening with homelessness activist Peter McVerry’ including a screening of the documentary Peter McVerry: A View From The Basement and a chat with Fintan O’Toole at the Light House Cinema starting at 6.30pm.
Peter McVerry Trust
Peter McVerry at the launch of the Action Plan on Homelessness last month
….Fr Peter McVerry wants to get back to the 80s, where we were building up to 8,000 “social houses” every year. Why? Does he see home ownership as a bad thing? Why else would he be so in favour of inflating the “social housing” market – property that would forever remain in the state’s hands?
The British Left never forgave Thatcher for “right to buy,” which allowed the low income to buy their council houses. Private property being the original sin of the Left, this broke the chains that bound many of Britain’s poorer with the powerful state. US broadcaster Dennis Prager says “the bigger the state, the smaller the citizen,” and that’s what gets Leftists votes.
We entirely sympathise with people on short-term leases, who can see a hike in their rent down the road. But what do you expect with such an appallingly regulated sector? Landlords are only in that favourable position due to that tired but true term: supply-and-demand.
If the stock of housing were to keep up with demand, no landlord could afford to lose good, reliable tenants; longer-term leases, with rent freezes, would be a competitive advantage as landlords sought the best tenants. (And, given that we rate tradesmen, teachers and restaurants online, why not throw in a website that rates tenants?)
The market rate is, after all, contingent on what the state will allow it to be, reflective of land zoning, planning permission, and a plethora of costly regulations.
Alas, I dare say, many of McVerry’s supporters would be the same type of people who would turn their noses up at a block of apartments being built in their neighbourhood.
Of course McVerry is correct on many points; relative to wages, housing is stupidly expensive in Ireland. But the solutions are not so forthcoming.
Releasing state-controlled land; building taller buildings to make better use of acreage and afford us the density of population required to make quality public transport possible; tackling the cost of grossly inflated agricultural land – all of these solutions are actively fought by progressives.
You can’t have a competitive property market and an 19th Century idyll at the same time, folks.
We need sustainable solutions here. We need tough, open discussions. We need accurate figures. McVerry’s is not the only voice in this debate.
Fr Peter McVerry’s voice is not the only one in this homelessness debate (John Lalor, The Hibernia Forum)