28 Sept 2022

Housing crisis having devastating effect on people in Laois

Housing crisis having devastating effect on people in Laois

The government's Affordable Housing Fund will deliver just 38 homes in the next four years, a local TD has claimed. 

Sinn Féin Brian Stanley told the Dail the housing crisis was having a devastating effect on the lives of people in Laois and in neighbouring Offaly, where he claimed the AHF would provide no homes in four years.

“We have thousands of people trapped in private rental accommodation, where rents are out of control. In Laois a three-bedroom house starts at €1,058 per month; in Offaly, €1,040. The common asking rent for a house is now between €1,200 and €1,400 a month. It is too high,” said Deputy Stanley. 

He said: “Workers on low and middle incomes are locked out of homeownership, and that is the problem. They earn too much for the council and social housing lists, yet they are trapped paying sky-high rents, which are higher than what a mortgage on a comparable property would cost.’’

“I have dealt with cases where people are paying rent of €1,200 or €1,300 per month. If they could get a mortgage to buy a house of the same size, they would be paying €800 a month. It is crazy stuff. In Laois-Offaly a couple earning more than - wait for it - €504 a week are over the income threshold for council and social housing, while a couple with two children are over the limit if they earn just €528. What are they supposed to do?’’ he asked. 

“Figures provided to Deputy Ó Broin in recent weeks, which I have in front of me, reveal that the Government target under the affordable housing fund scheme from 2022 to 2026 for all of Laois is an average of nine houses per year, 38 in total, with none, not one single house, for Offaly. That is totally unacceptable,” he told the Dail. 

Deputy Stanley said: “Sinn Féin calls on the Government to revise the affordable home targets agreed with local authorities and to deliver an average of at least 4,000 affordable purchase homes a year throughout the State over the next four years. More importantly, we need to deliver affordable homes that can be sold at prices and that people can afford.

The housing crisis is devastating the lives of workers and families across the country, and the Government and every one of us must do more to ensure people can buy genuinely affordable homes,” he concluded.

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