From top: Queues at Beechwood Heath estate, Hansfield, Dublin 15 last week; Homeless person sleeping at Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2; Anne Marie McNally

Over the last few days newspapers have led, either above the fold of below the fold depending on your paper of choice, with some variation on the current housing crisis.

Note I said housing crisis and not housing and homelessness crisis.

The sad fact is that homelessness, generally doesn’t connect hugely with many people. The misplaced and (frankly wrong) notion that homelessness only affects a certain ‘type’ is far too common. (The argument of why it still wouldn’t be OK to ignore it even if it was only a certain group is one for another day!)

This week there were ‘record new homelessness figures’ but that phrase has become so oft-repeated in the last few months it has really ceased to have any impact. It’s like nobody expects things to have improved since the last set of ‘record homelessness figures’ and why would they?

There are simply no emergency measures being put in place to both arrest and improve what has been a deteriorating situation for at least six years now.

Don’t get me wrong, there is *lots* of talk. And document launches. And relaunches. And millions and billions promised here there and everywhere but actual working solutions and the associated implementation of same? Nada.

Now to calm the Fine Galers who’ll likely burst a vessel telling me about their solution I’m going to tell you right off the bat that your ‘solution’ is crap.

That solution is the HAP scheme. The HAP scheme is, quite simply, the outsourcing of responsibility for social housing to the private sector. The State abdicating responsibility for a public service to the private sector…because that’s worked so well in the past hasn’t it?

The primary reason that housing hit the headlines this week was because there was a double-figure increase in house prices and scenes reminiscent of the worst times of the Celtic Tiger with people sleeping outside new developments waiting to hand over ever increasing sums to property developers to get onto this wretched thing we refer to as the property ladder.

A ladder that has in the past lured so many to put a tentative foot onto it for fear of being left behind while it gets pulled up. A ladder that for many of those people who managed to get a foot onto it, brought them down, crashing down, rather than up.

It’s not the fault of the people queuing. The societal pressure, the fear, the ‘what-if’ is huge but the repercussions of what we’re allowing to happen, again, are too big and too damaging to ignore, again.

It may be indelicate to mention it to those giddy with a mortgage approval in their pocket and hopes and dreams of a new home in their eye-line but one would be wise to bear in mind that many of the people now living in emergency accommodation, sleeping on families couches or indeed sleeping on the streets, once, not so long ago, slept on the street in an entirely different fashion.

They slept while queuing outside over-priced developments clutching mortgage approvals they could ill-afford or which eventually stretched them to breaking point.

Those sleeping in queues and those sleeping on the streets tonight are both looking longingly at homes they’d like to call their own. It’s worth remembering that the line separating the two situations can be extremely thin.

Anne Marie McNally is Social Democrats Political Director and General Election candidate for Dublin Mid-West.

Top pic: Rollingnews

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20 thoughts on “Waiting For A Home

  1. Fact Checker

    I think about 170,000 new cars need to be imported into Ireland every year on a sustainable basis.

    Imagine an import quota was slapped on: “Only 85,000 cars will pass through Irish ports every year”

    What would happen?
    -Prices of existing cars would shoot up
    -Dealers would cater toward the higher-income end of the market
    -Households would make do with one car when they need two
    -The car rental business would be very popular

    Would this be good policy? No. But this is EXACTLY what the planning and development system does for the supply of new housing, particularly in Dublin. It basically means that a lot less get built than are needed.

    So you get:
    -Rising prices on existing housing
    -Development of luxury homes instead of average ones
    -Rising household size
    -Booming airbnb and short-term rental market

    1. david

      Its all going to end in tears just like before
      The question is when it happens those who bought in an inflated market, should they be left to take responsibility for their actions, as as long as people buy at these prices they will only go up in price, and the developers? Should they be allowed to be bailed out?
      Should the banks be allowed off the hook as well, and will the KAPO regime of little peo varadka be held account, for perusing this policy?
      Frankly no
      Another question should be what is the breakdown of mortgagee granted to buy a home
      A /*the private sector
      B/ the public sector
      I would say the majority are public sector workers

    2. Cian

      Yes, but importing 170,000 cars into Ireland each year is un-sustainable.
      – Rush-hour traffic is now becoming all-day-traffic.
      – Air quality is dropping
      – Stress levels are on the rise.
      – We need to invest billions into roads.
      – M50 is carrying more traffic than it was designed for

      Tallaght (and other areas) was build in a free-for-all orgy of house building. But there was very little in the way of shops/pubs/schools/transport – these took years to come.

      We need sensible planning. We need there to be a good mix of social and private housing. We need to have a amenities where they are needed.

      1. david

        We live in the age of the internet and all that goes with it
        Video conferencing emails etc
        By using pre internet planning as in cramming all into centres is madness
        If people worked from home using internet problem solved plus re energised towns villages communities
        Proper investment in the rural life would also because one parent works from home ,reduction on child care, and the existing roads and need to build massive towns and thus more pressure on infrastructure could be avoided
        Sadly our KAPO regime could not even plan a game of cards

  2. dav

    Thanks Anne Marie for highlighting how fg are aping their civilwarshirt brothers ff, 2 cheeks, same arse etc..

    1. david

      I suppose Leo will stand up and say in the dail” that even though he was homeless he did not die alone .that he died with a roof over his head under care of a first class health system that cared for all without discrimination”
      Simon Harris will then state the government has allocated 50 million euros extra to the HSE to open up more beds.

      1. dav

        WHen he says “beds” he means fold up chairs. And when he says €50million, he means money that was announced 5years ago for a health initiative and then used in 2 further announcements for other things since then. It’s the special 50 million allocated to the PR department which they roll out for “announcements” then put it back in that vulture fund till it’s needed for another “announcement”..

  3. Col

    Speaking personally, it’s not so much a desire to get onto the property ladder as it is a desire to get out of the rental trap.

  4. b

    I think the second part of the article where Anne-Marie put forward her solution and how it will work got cut off?

    1. bisted

      …maybe her opportunist antennae signalled the approach of another bandwagon and she forgot to paste…

    2. Hansel

      Yeah I’m beginning to see that as a Broadsheet speciality… get a commentator on to write about some genuine injustice (homelessness, zero hours contracts, inequality) apportion some vague blame (the government, the patriarchy, capitalism) and then end the article post haste.

  5. Cian

    Thanks Anne Marie. You hit the nail on the head – and it is worth highlighting the problem.

    But we all know what the problem is. What is your/Social Democrats solution?

    1. b

      when i was at school there was always a few perpetual highlighters, almost maniacally drawing a luminous marker over nearly every single thing in the book. By the time they were finished they were none the wiser as to what was important or had managed to take away learning outcomes…..but to the untrained eye they looked like clever and eager students capable of solving problems in the real world

  6. Ron Dolan

    You already got a vote from me Anne Marie and if you are up again you will get another one. A No. 1.

    Keep at it.

  7. SOQ

    The thing about this zealot like adherence to the free market is how it affects everyone, not just those who are homeless or over mortgaged.

    Leo uses the term ‘early risers’ except most do so because they have no choice. They leave at 6 and are not home until 8. They pay through the nose for child care. Roads and trains packed to the gills with people who cannot afford to live anywhere close to their work. They spend their life running hard to stand still.

    And it leaves them weary, bitter and unhappy. Children neglected and just about enough energy to make it through until Friday. It is very unhealthy and yet never will you see anything about it the papers or on TV. Pages about how a glass of wine may shorten your life yet not a word on what happens to your body when you commute for four hours AND do a days work. Something so obvious but never mentioned.

    Why is that?

    1. david

      Simply because we live in a society that accepted it
      We voted them in and we sit there moaning because these Muppets are just that
      Not government but administrators that will allow our country and its people bled dry
      And you go on about me
      We would be better off out of a Europe that has done this to us
      We are less than 5 million living on a landmass rich in resources
      Irish people build empires and we think we must put up with the crap we are getting
      The Irish diaspora world wide is one big market and we can trade in the free world
      We just need competent leadership
      Since we joined the EU we received around 26 billion
      Our fishing stocks yielded over 250 billion euro for our EU partners
      The only things holding us back is our inept political class who still behave like beggars at a banquet
      I actually think its pre colonial programming
      Our biggest asset is our size
      Small country easily managed
      Hopefully in my lifetime we will realise we are a great nation and realise that our leadership are just a failed pack of jobs worth’s and make this country great
      We need to plan our future itemising our whole nation
      The technology is there so why do we need to jam everyone into these ghettos
      Which are bursting at the seams ready to implode

    2. SOQ

      And just to back my point up. Which genius decided that in the middle of the biggest housing crisis in the history of the state, broadcasting a program on architecture on RTÉ 2 at 8:30 on Mondays is appropriate?

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