At the Labour Party Conference I spoke on the need to rebuild vacant council houses and return them to social use. This is what I said
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It goes without argument that we all want to live in communities that are clean, safe and green
- Where streets, footpaths, roads and common areas are well maintained
- Where that are local social and recreational amenities
However, disused land, boarded up buildings, in particular boarded up vacant council houses, do not serve our communities well.
The fact that there are thousands of council houses lying vacant and in disrepair when we have more than 90,000 families on social housing waiting lists is not acceptable.
In Dublin city alone demand for social housing way outstrips supply with families often waiting up to 10 years to secure an appropriate home.
All vacant houses must be made habitable for those on our social housing waiting lists. Doing so not only gives vulnerable families a home and a sense of community belonging but it also
- provides local employment opportunities, particularly for skilled construction workers
- increases local retail and business activity,
- reduces anti-social behaviour
- increases the attractiveness of our local communities
- and promotes greater social cohesion
Thanks to my Labour colleagues in Dublin City Council, I have seen first hand the social, environmental and economic benefits in my local area with the rebuilding of the Bunratty Masionettes and I hope to see further rebuilding in the Buttercup area of Darndale very soon.
At a national level, the Trojan work done by Minister Jan O’Sullivan in this area must also be acknowledged, particularly the securing of €15m for local councils to bring long term vacant housing back into social use. Also most welcome & significant is the Minister’s 2 year social housing building programme.
However, while this does indeed make a significant difference, more, much moreis needed.
- We need to continue to put pressure on NAMA to release to local councils, all the housing it has, that is suitable for social housing.
- We need to put pressure on the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to more proactive and innovative.
All our communities deserve to flourish. And all families in need of a home, in need of security and stability deserve to be provided for more effectively that they are at present.
Myself and Deputy O’Riordain discussing the Bunratty Massionettes
Since I spoke on this Minister Jan O’Sullivan has highlighted increasing social housing as a key priority. See here