People's need for housing before markets property speculators and bankers


People's need for housing has to be put before the considerations of the markets, the property speculators, and the bankers.

Property is once again on the rise which means this is a great time to be a landlord as you kick tenants out on the streets on some pretense, only to get in a new batch at a higher rental rate. The neo-liberal agenda has really given a free hand to the landlords to do what they wish, whilst the banks are only too happy to take homes of families who cannot meet their mortgage obligations, so that they can sell it or rent it out for quick cash.

There is a desperate scramble to maximise the take this time before the wheels come off this property boom, just as they did in the last. All the big people win, the landlords, the banks, and once again those who lose out are the unfortunate people who need to find a place to live. An all too familiar story of this government looking after the privileged at a cost to the people who should be protected, but aren’t. Welcome to social democracy 2015. Witness the pathetic sight of the Minister for Finance trying to manage to get the banks to adjust the variable mortgage rates.

Alan Kelly, back in April as Minister said “Housing is the number one priority for the Government.” The Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government said this when they were launching their plans for Social Housing which was aiming to lower the waiting lists by 25% by 2017. However, the number of houses being repossessed in the first six months of this year has doubled, to nearly 1000. Over 66% of these houses are described as “primary residential homes”. What that means is that whilst the Government launched their aspirational social housing program a numerous times earlier this year, the reality is that in 2015, over 600 families have being made homeless. The rate at which homes are being repossessed is up to sixty per week.

It is interesting to see the proposals by Dublin City Council which allow for smaller apartments (up to 20% smaller) and the reduction of apartments with windows on two walls from 85% to 50% in a scheme. The developers, rental agencies, and surfers of the new property bubble all welcome these proposals which immediately alerts me to something. Do you remember the 255 people who had to be evacuated from Priory Hall, the development which was built in the last boom and which failed to live up to fire safety standards in Oct. 2011? So instead of maintaining standards, or increasing them, we are now relaxing them so as to encourage the developers back into the market to create new slums? Is it wise to trust developers with such responsibilities?

42,000 people, over 16,500 of whom are children are now seeking social housing in Dublin city. This is the highest ever recorded figure. Even with the new planning proposals in place, the plan allows for 29,500 houses to be built by 2022. But instead of looking at what they plan and promise, what did they actually deliver. 29 houses in 2013 were built towards social housing stock in Dublin City. In 2014, in Dublin City 914 homes were built. As you can see the reality is 75% short of the planned for build.

In the light of this reality the actions of the people involved in housing struggles needs to be considered. Such struggles put people before the considerations of the markets, the property speculators, and the bankers, because the political class consistently fail to do so.