Fr. Peter McVerry welcomes ‘Solidarity Housing’ as important contribution to thinking on housing
‘Solidarity Housing’ model would expand public housing provision at reduced cost to State
Proposals form viable state-led alternative to Housing Land Initiative
The Workers’ Party today (Monday May 9th) published Solidarity Housing: Getting the vultures out of Irish Housing, a costed proposal for multi-income public housing which is intended to address three issues: the current high costs to the state of public housing provision; the high costs of market rents which are placing an unsustainable burden on many households; and the social segregation and marginalisation which characterise many public housing developments.
Speakers at today’s press conference included housing campaigner Fr Peter McVerry and lone parents advocate Louise Bayliss (S.P.A.R.K. / Single Parents Acting for the Rights of their Kids), as well as Workers’ Party representatives Cllr. Eilis Ryan (Dublin Central) and Jimmy Dignam (Dublin Northwest).
Introducing the document, Cllr Eilis Ryan said:
“Solidarity Housing envisages that, within any given development, the state would rent 50% of homes to households who currently qualify for social housing and the rest to those who are not currently eligible for social housing. Rent for all households would be calculated as 15% of income up to €35,000, plus 30% of income above €35,000. A household with an income of €50,000 would pay a monthly rent of around €870 – significantly less than the current average market rent of €1,500 for a three-bedroom home in Dublin.”
Welcoming the Workers’ Party’s proposals, Fr Peter McVerry said:
“I welcome this document as an important contribution to our thinking on the most critical issue for Ireland today, namely housing and homelessness. The only way to ensure security of tenure and affordable accommodation for low income families and those who are homeless is through social housing, that is housing that is under the control of the local authorities. The private rented sector does not qualify as secure housing. We need to return to the previous decades of large scale housing built by and for the local authorities, if we are to give everyone the right to a home.”
Highlighting the plight of lone parents trying to access housing, Louise Bayliss said:
“Lone parents have been disproportionately hit by the housing crisis and are now facing a perfect storm. Rising rents and the draconian cuts introduced by our last government have pushed lone parents deeper into poverty and affordable and social housing is crucial to lift our children out of poverty and deprivation”.
Workers’ Party Dublin Northwest representative, Jimmy Dignam, added:
“Not only would this proposal result in secure tenure at affordable rents – it would also result in significant cost savings for the State. Higher income earners can contribute to costs in a way that is not possible when social housing focuses only on the lowest income earners. In areas such as Ballymun, Finglas and Oscar Traynor Road, with large amounts of public land, Solidarity Housing offers an opportunity to develop communities that are integrated and accessible to all, without the state giveaways which have characterised Public Private Partnerships in the past.”
Cllr. Ryan contrasted the proposal with Dublin City Council’s Housing Land Initiative, under which the council proposes to hand over land at O’Devaney Gardens (Dublin 7), St. Michael’s Estate (Dublin 8) and Oscar Traynor Road (Dublin 9) to private developers. Cllr. Ryan pointed out that:
“The Housing Land Initiative reduces the amount of public housing on O’Devaney Gardens to just 30%. By contrast, under Solidarity Housing 50% of housing would be allocated to households with average or below average household incomes, with the remaining 50% allocated to households who, despite earning above the average wage, struggle to meet the escalating costs of private housing. All households would be equal stakeholders, renting from the state, with full security of tenure”, Cllr Ryan concluded.
Solidarity Housing is available for download here, and a summary of the proposals is available here. Click here for an example of how the proposals would apply to O’Devaney Gardens, currently earmarked for development under the Housing Land Initiative.