A total of 1,521 households in Sligo are currently on the housing waiting or transfer list, last week’s council meeting announced.
The response issued by Chief Executive Joe Murphy said those on Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and awaiting transfer amounted to 763 households, with another 202 households, such as council tenants, tenants of approved housing organizations and tenants of the rental housing program.
There are then 556 households that do not benefit from any form of social housing assistance.
Mr Murphy and Acting Director of Services John Moran were responding to a motion from Cllr Michael Clarke asking the council to declare a housing emergency and Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to declare a national emergency.
Cllr Clarke’s motion also called on the council to clarify the number of emergency accommodations available for those affected by domestic violence.
In response, Mr Murphy told Cllr Clarke that “the council has no special provision for victims of domestic violence who become homeless. Victims, where appropriate and after assessment, may be placed in residential accommodation. emergency private if there are no other options available to them.”
Cllr Clarke said the government should give money to councils to carry out building programs in their own areas, and described the current housing situation as ‘out of control’ across the country.
Cllr Gino O’Boyle argued that more could be done for victims of domestic violence when it comes to housing.
The HAP scheme was just “sticky plaster” according to Cllr Thomas Healy, while the wider housing crisis is a “shocking accusation” from the current government and others in the past, Cllr Declan Bree said during the meeting. Cllr Rosaleen O’Grady agreed that a national emergency should be declared, but pointed out that Fianna Fáil had in the past built houses while in government with little money available in previous generations.
Cllr O’Grady also praised the council’s work in its housing developments, a point echoed by Cllr Marie Casserly.