THE number of people currently on the housing waiting list in Laois has more than doubled since 2011.
Newly released figures show that over 110,000 applicants are waiting to be housed by local authorities across the State, with 1,168 on the list in Laois. Local TD Brian Stanley said the Laois figure was more than double that recorded in 2011 and he pointed out that the number is actually much higher as many more people are housed under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and do not appear on the waiting lists.
“Given the new and more aggressive approach of banks the lists will increase over the next few years as banks repossess houses from those struggling with mortgage arrears,” he said.
“The current Government housing policy has failed miserably. The Government policy that has councils leasing private rented accommodation for social housing through the RAS scheme doesn’t make economic sense. During a ten-year lease the tenant and taxpayer pay anything from €70,000 to €100,000 in rent and at the end of the lease the house has to be handed back to the landlord in pristine condition. There will be huge additional costs in bringing these dwellings back to ‘as new’ condition associated with this also.”
Dep Stanley said the result of this is that the council has no house or asset, the family are again without a home and have to be re-housed and millions of euros in taxpayers’ and tenants’ money will have gone down the tubes.
“A more cost effective approach would be for local authorities to purchase or build social housing units while costs are at an all time low. This is a far more sustainable approach both from an economic and social point of view,” he concluded.