The government’s Affordable Housing Fund will only deliver 38 homes over the next four years, a local TD has claimed.
Sinn Féin’s Brian Stanley told The Dail the housing crisis was having a devastating effect on the lives of residents of Laois and neighboring Offaly, where he claimed the AHF would not provide any accommodation in four years.
“We have thousands of people trapped in private rental accommodation, where rents are spiraling out of control. In Laois, a three-bedroom house starts at €1,058 per month; in Offaly, €1,040. The commonly asked rent for a house is now between €1,200 and €1,400 per month. It’s too high,” Deputy Stanley said.
He said: ‘Low- and middle-income workers cannot afford property, and that is the problem. They earn too much for social and municipal housing listings, but are trapped in paying exorbitant rents, which are higher than what a mortgage on a comparable property would cost.
“I’ve dealt with cases where people were paying rent of €1,200 or €1,300 a month. If they could get a mortgage to buy a house the same size, they would pay €800 a month. It’s a crazy thing. In Laois-Offaly, a couple earning more than – wait for it – €504 a week exceeds the income threshold for social housing and social housing, while a couple with two children exceeds the ceiling if they only earn €528 . What are they supposed to do?” he asked.
“Figures provided to MP Ó Broin in recent weeks, which I have in front of me, reveal that the government’s aim under the Affordable Housing Fund scheme from 2022 to 2026 for the whole of Laois is a average of nine houses a year, 38 in total, with none, not one house, for Offaly. This is completely unacceptable,” he told the Dail.
MP Stanley said: “Sinn Féin calls on the government to review the affordable housing targets agreed with local authorities and deliver an average of at least 4,000 affordable homes a year across the state over the next four years. More importantly, we need to provide affordable housing that can be sold at affordable prices and that people can afford.
The housing crisis is devastating the lives of workers and families across the country, and the government and all of us must do more to ensure people can buy truly affordable homes,” he concluded. .