The news that Minister Kelly is to provide just 22 modular homes by the end of the year is indicative of the Governments indifference to homeless people and the housing crises.
The decision by the Minister to fastrack temporary housing as a solution to the worst housing crisis in living memory highlights the inadequacy of his government’s response. Minister Kelly today confirmed that less than 3% of homeless people will be given access to modular homes by the end of the year.
The Homeless and the housing crises did not happen overnight. In my ten years as a Dublin City Councillor I regularly raised this issue but Labour and Fine Gael denied the problem and dismissed my concerns.
When this Government took office almost five years ago they had a massive mandate and opportunity to make changes to address the housing crises. First they ignored the problem and then they took actions which actually compounded the problem.
Labour and Fine Gael failed to deal robustly with the banks to stop repossessions of family homes. Labour and Fine Gael cut rent allowance and thus forced many more people into homelessness. Labour and Fine Gael have failed to establish any rent certainty. Labour and Fine Gael have failed to increase rent allowance to prevent further homelessness. Labour and Fine Gael have failed to provide any new social and or affordable housing. Labour and Fine Gael have reduced the requirement for private developers to deliver 20% social and affordable housing in every new development.
The absence of any meaningful measures to address the problem in Labour and Fine Gaels most recent regressive budget further demonstrated their total indifference to this basic human problem. There is absolutely no sense of any real urgency from the Minister or any member of Government to meaningfully address our housing crises.
Even their latest paltry gesture of modular housing is flawed. Fianna Fáils spokesperson Barry Cowen TD has repeatedly asked the Minister what specific aspect of the legislation allows the Government to fast track the planning process to introduce modular homes. However the Government has been unable to say what legislation they intend using to achieve this. Fianna Fáil wants to support their efforts, but it is hard to escape the conclusion that the Minister and the Government are making it up as they go along.