Public Land For Public Housing

On Friday, December 11th 2020, outside the offices of the Land Development Agency in Dublin, People Before Profit launched their new Housing Policy document ‘Another Housing System is Possible’.

The document comes against the backdrop of renewed support for a right to housing. However, a right to housing alone won’t deliver if we do not bring developer and speculator led housing policies to a grinding halt. There is an alternative.

The central call of the group is for an end to the market and profit lead policies of successive governments that have resulted in the ongoing privatisation of public housing and public land banks that have left us with a dire housing crisis. In the document the group call for immediate measures that will vastly increase the supply of public housing on public land as well as increased security for tenants.

Speaking at the launch Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “The dire housing and homelessness crisis that this country has been experiencing has not gone away.

“What is needed to start to resolve this shocking problem for our society is the government need to stop the selloff of public land banks and facilitate the provision of public housing on these lands. The government must also stop the speculation that has gone on which has drastically slowed the delivery of housing.

“We are proposing that a state building company be established to get building public housing to build skills and capacity within the public sector and to begin a broad programme of home refurbishment.

“There is an alternative to this dire housing crisis – to record homelessness, to people waiting decades for social housing, to people paying extortionate rents and to house prices escalating out of control.”

Cllr Tina MacVeigh said: “A home is a basic human need, ranking alongside sleep and food, as an essential to sustain life. In modern societies a decent and secure place to live improves educational attainment, leads to a healthier and longer life, and is needed to access many public services. Yet through the private market policies of successive governments, the ‘housing market’ has proven incapable of providing decent and secure housing for all in our society.

 “Based on a simple premise that everyone in our society requires a decent and secure place to live, irrespective of their income, our housing policy sets out the alternative.

“It is more imperative than ever that immediate measures are put in place to deal with the problem of supply, to provide security for tenants, to deal with the housing problems faced by our Traveller community, students, the elderly, people living in direct provision, those on a low wage.”

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