The Oireachtas committee on housing and homelessness sets out its priorities and objectives.
The Oireachtas committee on housing and homelessness was established in April for the purpose of reviewing the implications of problems with housing and homelessness. The first meeting of the committee took place on the 20
April and Dublin Mid-West TD John Curran was elected Chair.
The committee, which consists of 14 TDs (three Fine Gael, three Fianna Fáil, two Sinn Féin, one Labour and five independents) has identified 10 key issues concerning the housing and homelessness problem which it believes necessary to address in the course of its work. These are:
• the government’s overall strategy for housing and homelessness;
• social housing: both local authority provided housing and housing provided by other bodies;
• the private rented sector;
• private housing;
• legal issues;
• mortgage difficulties;
• social inclusion and special needs in housing;
• housing finance.
The committee has also identified four main objectives that it hopes to achieve. The first of these objectives is to find a way of increasing the overall supply of housing in Ireland. To do this the committee will assess the government’s overall strategy for housing and homelessness, social housing, private housing, Nama and legal issues. The second objective is to prevent further issues of homelessness and to do this the committee will investigate issues in the private rented sector, homelessness, legal issues and mortgage difficulties.
The committee will also attempt to find ways to transition homeless households into long-term quality accommodation by investigating issues with the government’s housing plan, social housing, the private rented sector and homelessness. Finally, the committee also aims to ensure that people are in accommodation appropriate to their long-term needs.
Speaking following the establishment of the committee its Chair, John Curran stated: “We are facing one of the biggest housing and homelessness crises in the history of the state.
“The state must supply the homes that are desperately needed by families all over Ireland and our committee will do all it can to assist in the process.” Similarly, another of the committee’s members, independent TD Ruth Coppinger stated that the situation required ‘emergency legislation’.
“We need radical change,” she added. “What has been proposed before hasn’t been working. This committee has to come out and say there has to be a public building of social housing on a massive scale.”