This Saturday the 26th is the National Day of Action on Housing and to mark the date, a protest against Ireland’s increasingly dismal housing situation is taking place nationwide. Hosted by the National Housing and Homelessness Coalition, this is an opportunity to join forces and be heard.
If, like most people in Ireland, you feel excluded from the housing market and without an opportunity to either rent or buy in a realistic manner, then now is your chance to get involved and demand change. The recent ‘Housing For All’ government strategy doesn’t feature immediate solutions, despite immediate action being needed.
Here are just some of the reasons we will be joining in the protest on Saturday:
- Homelessness prevails.
- A large portion of young adults can’t afford to move out of their parent’s home.
- House prices soared by 14% last year alone, pushing the bar for saving even higher. Why? Partially driven by a lack of available housing but in a large part, driven by the prevalence of vulture funds, a funding mechanism supported by our government.
- Living in Dublin? Hope you have half a million spare to buy. This is the average house price in Dublin, should you manage to get to this stage.
- Renting instead? You’ve seen your rent increase by nearly 3% in Dublin, while Cork and Galway saw 6.9% and 8.3% increases respectively.
- For a couple to save a deposit, you need to put away almost half of your income over a year, and if preparing to buy in Dublin, you need to save 75% of your after-rent, disposable income to get a deposit. This can be even more challenging for those who choose to buy as a single person.
- We’re a European country, with no European standards. Our counterparts have more secure long term rental opportunities and more efficient rent control policies in comparison. Here’s a taste of where we are in comparison; Dublin is the fifth most expensive city to rent in Europe, and we’re seeing the third highest rent increases across Europe.
- Derelict sites sit empty as many unused homes and spaces are in limbo since the previous recession, while many lack the support required to reinvigorate these spaces, bringing them to the market. This has had a direct effect on the availability of creative and social spaces.
From the organisers:
“There are currently approximately 200,000 vacant and derelict buildings in Ireland. In the midst of the worst housing crisis in the history of the state, this is a scandal.
Rents continue to soar. Public land continues to be gifted to private developers. Not enough social housing is not being built.
Housing is seen as an asset for a profit, rather than a basic human right. We need a fundamental change of direction.
- Introduce proper rent controls that reduce rents
- Ban vulture and cuckoo funds from the housing sector
- Stop the sell-off of public land
- Commence a major programme of directly built public and genuinely affordable homes on public land
- We need a ‘use it or lose it’ policy for vacant sites and buildings. If left vacant for more than 1 year, without adequate reason, the property should be taken into public ownership.“
All in all, it’s clear change is needed and it’s needed sooner rather than later. We have a thriving population, many who feel overlooked, who resolve to depart to other countries that offer a more secure future. If you relate to any of this, we encourage you to add your voice and help strengthen our resolve for change. Find out where you can get involved here.