The latest homelessness figures are a shocking indictment of the government. Nearly 7,000 people are now homeless with 27% under 18 years old.
The Central Statistics Office has published new census figures that show the true extent of the housing crisis in Ireland. There are now 7,000 people homeless, almost double the 3,744 of five years ago.
56% of homeless people are in the labour force but cannot afford a place to live. 72% of the homeless are in Dublin. 58% are male and the average age is 31.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul has said that the number of young homeless children revealed in the Census figures is of "grave concern"- with 23% of the total homeless being under the age of 15.
While the housing crisis escalates the vulture firms are reporting record profits. IRES RIET, now Ireland's biggest landlord, reported a 25% increase in profits. The Canadian firm bought up apartments from NAMA.
This crisis is the direct result of government policy. Their reliance on developers to deliver housing has proven to be a failure with many developers refusing to build unless they can make a massive profit and sell the house above 'affordable' levels.
Leo Varadkar even denied there was a problem. He stated that the 90,000 people on waiting lists were already 'housed'. He has obviously never had to deal with overcrowding in a family home- where many generations are now forced to live together.
Ireland has become a tax haven. Instead of focusing on real economic development the government want to inflate another property bubble.
The housing crisis could be solved by simply cutting out the developers and building social housing. People Before Profit proposes building 20,000 houses a year.
This would be wedded to a housing policy which would take over NAMA properties, introduce serious rent controls, outlaw intentional deriliction of land and property and stop economic evictions.
Social housing would benefit all by increasing the supply of housing and bringing rents and house prices down.
But to introduce these policies we'd need to clear out the establishment parties and transform Irish society in the interests of the many not the wealthy few.
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