herald

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Anger as social housing waiting list grows to a massive 44,000 in city

Dublin’s Lord Mayor Criona Ni Dhailigh said it is ‘a living disgrace’ (Caroline Quinn)
Dublin’s Lord Mayor Criona Ni Dhailigh said it is ‘a living disgrace’ (Caroline Quinn)

The waiting list for social housing in Dublin has hit a new peak with 44,034 people waiting to be housed.

New figures show there are some 22,355 applications for social housing, with 9,522 applications coming from people who have been waiting between five and 10 years.

The housing list first passed the 20,000 applications mark last year and the numbers have continued to increase in the meantime.

Of those waiting, 2,230 have been added to the list in the past year.

Almost 8,000 applicants are coded as living in over-crowded conditions or as having medical or other welfare issues, according to the housing allocations scheme.

A further 1,547 applications are categorised as homeless.

Single parents make up just under one-third of the waiting list. Single people make up half of the waiting list with 11,544 lone applicants waiting for a council house or flat.

The demand is higher in the north city area, which includes Artane, Coolock, Kilbarrack, Donnycarney and Killester.

Demand

Some 5,960 applicants are waiting to be housed in those areas, with 467 of those categorised as homeless.

One- and two-bed houses or apartments are in the greatest demand. Less than 10pc of applicants want a three-bed house, with just 246 applicants waiting on a four- or five-bed house.

There is also a long waiting list for transfers with 6,247 people awaiting a transfer to a more suitable home.

The council managed to move some 1,006 applicants off the waiting list in 2015 - including 241 homeless single people and 172 homeless families.

Lord Mayor Criona Ni Dhalaigh said it was a "living disgrace" the waiting list had hit another high. The latest report was presented to the Housing SPC of Dublin City Council yesterday.

Also presented at the meeting was an update on the latest homelessness figures which showed that 38pc of those who accessed emergency accommodation were finding themselves homeless for the first time.

Her councillor colleague Daithi Doolan, who chairs the housing SPC of Dublin City Council, said the figures show a failure of national housing policies to date.

"Clearly the Government's strategy is not working. There are more people on the housing list, more people becoming homeless.

"Not only is it not working, it's actually having a negative impact," he said.

In November 2014 Alan Kelly pledged €3.8bn to build and refurbish 35,000 social housing units by 2020.

"There's a logjam at the moment. Emergency accommodation is totally oversubscribed, I'm working with families who can't even get a hotel room [as emergency accommodation]," Mr Doolan said.

"All of this talk about coalition and who will be in power is a smokescreen. The real issue is who is going to provide houses for these families."

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