Housing crisis

‘No hope’ for Laois homeless as housing crisis hits with construction delays

Laois are living in emergency accommodation while new homes for council tenants lie unfinished, and others lie empty awaiting repair.

People are “constantly” receiving notices to leave their rental accommodation, which is increasing the number of homeless people, according to a Laois adviser.

Portlaoise Borough Councilors this week urged Laois County Council to hire more staff to renovate unused rental accommodation, so people can get to it more quickly.

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley said figures given to her by the council’s housing department show 16 Laois, including families with children, are currently in emergency accommodation.

“That’s eight single people, one couple and the rest are families. On a daily basis, we have people who are constantly receiving notices to stop smoking. One day last week, nine people contacted us with notices, he n There is no hope for them We have families traveling to Carlow and Roscrea to stay in emergency accommodation.

“I’m sorry for the housing section. They’re inundated, with queues outside their office. There’s been a 10% increase in rents but HAP payments haven’t increased and people are left homeless .

“You have 40 houses waiting to be re-let, but the same team is doing the maintenance work. I ask you to consider having separate teams. 40 houses would make a big difference. and fish.

“We rely on the private sector to find houses, but the Laois County Council should provide all social housing,” she said.

She spoke on behalf of Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald who tabled a motion asking for an updated delivery date for 32 new houses being built at Clonrooske Abbey in Portlaoise.

The development is being carried out by a private contractor for the housing body Clúid, to accommodate tenants of Laois General Council housing.

It has been beset by construction delays. It was first promised for March 2021 to tenants, and now the delivery dates are March, May and June 2022, in stages. The contract is outdated between Clúid and the developer, so in theory the developer could legally walk away and sell the homes on the open market, a problem highlighted by the two advisers last December.

Cllr Fitzgerald said the housing shortage is “a vicious circle”.

“If we can’t get those 32 houses, it locks in another 32 households. If that happens in other developments, we have serious problems. We are really dependent on the goodwill of the developer because the contract is well and truly over. .

“This delay is so disappointing to people who said they were going to get a house. We have a serious housing problem like every other county. We can’t afford to be without 32 houses. It’s going on and we are always at the mercy of the developer,” she said.

“It’s a sad situation for people to be told they’re getting housing. These houses are ready in my opinion. Housing organizations seem to be providing all of our housing, but we have no say in it. It’s a dangerous road we’re on,” she said.

Cathaoirleach Cllr John Joe Fennelly backed the call for separate home renovation and repair teams.

“I have a lady who has been waiting three days for work since December and she still isn’t here, the contractor has six or seven houses to do first,” he said.

They requested a special housing update meeting with the Director of Housing Services.

Portlaoise City Manager Simon Walton said it could be arranged, but he insists housing is the “most important agenda” on Chief Executive John Mulholland’s desk.

“There are many ways in which social housing is delivered, directly by the council, by housing bodies, on a turnkey basis as it appears in this case. Compared to any other local authority, it will hold a fair comparison. doesn’t mean people aren’t frustrated and people are desperately in need. That’s a number one priority for the board.

“You requested an update on this development and three dates were given. On the positive side, it appears there are no changes to the dates at this time,” he said.