Enda and Alan failed homeless: Erica Fleming on social housing

A mother homeless since last June with her daughter – said Enda Kenny and Alan Kelly “failed” to look after the most vulnerable – with figures showing only 75 local authority homes were built last year.

2015 was a year when it was apparent Ireland was in the middle of the worst homeless crisis we have ever witnessed.

The Department of the Environment figures show this is the lowest number of social housing built on records dating back as far as 1970.

Erica Fleming, 30, who has been living in hotels with her daughter Emily, 9, since June 2015, is angered that Mr Kenny is expected to be placed in to government as the country’s leader once again today after standing over the homeless situation.

And she is annoyed that the man then charged with looking after the housing issue, outgoing environment minister, Alan Kelly, failed to increase these low figures.

“The infuriating thing is Alan Kelly won’t be held accountable for these figures.  He should be thrown out of government without pay or pension.

“He failed to do his job.”

Erica added:  “Enda is the same – he puts his head in the sand and is awarded by being placed again in to office as taoiseach.  It’s corrupt.”

Erica Fleming and daughter Emily serious
Erica Fleming and her nine-year-old daughter, Emily

Last November, Alan Kelly said there would be 200 council or social houses built by the end of last year, after just 20 were built in the first half of the year.

He vowed at that time that the figure would be “up to ten times higher” by the end of 2015. He then added that social housing could not be built overnight because there is “a lag of a couple of years” due to the previous government’s policy.

In 1975, local authorities built 8,794 homes, the highest number.

Five local authorities: Leitrim, Longford, Roscommon, and Sligo County Councils, and Galway City Council built not one social home in 2015.

Leitrim County Council has not built a single social housing unit between the last three months of 2012 and the end of 2015, according to the figures.

Voluntary and co-operative housing agencies provided more homes at the same time, going form 357 in 2014 to 401 in 2015.

local authority builds dropped by more than half, from 158 in 2014 to 75 last year.

The figures come as almost 2,000 children are currently homeless in this state – living with their families in emergency accommodation – many without space to play.

AAA-PBP TD Ruth Coppinger told the Journal the new figures “shameful” and added:  “They nail the lie we were constantly spun by Alan Kelly and Enda Kenny that they were spending more on social housing than any previous government. In fact they were spending less than previous governments – in the midst of a housing crisis.

“Only large scale building of both social and affordable homes by local authorities can end this crisis.”

The data also revealed while social housing builds dropped to its lowest level on record, private housing builds increased by 16% from 10,501 in 2014 to 12,201 in 2015.

Alan Kelly vowed more social housing would be built
Alan Kelly vowed more social housing would be built

A spokesperson for outgoing Environment Minister Alan Kelly said:  “The construction process for housing takes approximately two-and-a-half years between funding approval, design work, planning, and tendering. Any construction completed in 2015 would most likely have commenced in the first three months of 2013.

“Because construction of new units takes two-and-a-half years on average, local authorities emphasised delivery from other schemes which would contribute to the immediate delivery of a new unit…

“These schemes include the 1,836 households moved from rent supplement to the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) in 2015, and the 5,680 households that availed of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), where tenants on rent supplement are taken off local authority housing lists, in exchange for a payment by local authorities to their landlord.”

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis told the Journal the government was “spoofing” regarding its social housing record.




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