herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

State secures 800 new properties to help battle city homeless crisis

Fr Peter McVerry
Fr Peter McVerry

Environment Minister Alan Kelly today announced the provision of 800 new properties in Dublin in the latest effort to tackle the homeless crisis.

Many of the properties are being bought or leased by the State through Dublin City Council.

Mr Kelly has been criticised over the Government’s response to the homeless crisis by campaigners such as Fr Peter McVerry.

The announcement of the new measures comes after it emerged that banks and receivers may soon be banned from evicting tenants into homelessness when they are repossessing buy-to-let properties.

Officials in the Department of the Environment are discussing so-called duty of care legislation with the Department of Finance that would prohibit sitting tenants being evicted if they do not have alternative accommodation.

The move is being considered as part of a plan to tackle the homeless crisis that is resulting  in more and more families end up on the streets

Homeless campaigners have raised questions over the Government’s reaction to the homeless crisis and the number of landlords elected to Leinster House.

Influenced

Fr Peter McVerry and Br Kevin Crowley both said they hoped the Government’s reaction to the escalating problem was not influenced by the number of TDs and senators who own rental properties.

The majority of the landlords are from Fine Gael, with 24 members stating that they are renting out properties.

Fianna Fail has 12 landlords, Labour seven and Sinn Fein one.

Seven Independents own rental properties.

Br Crowley told the Herald it would be a outrageous if TDs were controlling rent for their personal interest.

“It would be a proper disgrace for the number of people who are really in need,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fr McVerry told RTE Radio that he believes several TDs who are landlords will vote against the proposed implementation of rent controls.   

“There are a number of TDs who are landlords and I don’t think they are going to vote for it,” he said.

He later said he had no evidence to suggest TDs are lobbying ministers to prevent “rent certainty”.

“The issue is that Fine Gael is more on the side of those who have power rather than those who are powerless,” he added.

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