Clare PPN’s letter to Councillors about the crisis for rental accommodation in the County
At Clare PPN’s Plenary Meeting on Feb 1st 2017 the members present agreed a motion to adopt a human rights approach to housing. This means that all of Clare PPN’s Representatives are mandated to engage with their various forums and committees from the perspective that every human has a right to adequate housing. As the situation for housing in Ireland and in Clare has become more and more critical the Social Inclusion College and its representatives have taken various actions to draw attention to the issues. Following a meeting of the Social Inclusion College on Thursday 2nd March those who attended decided to ask Dermot Hayes who is the PPN’s representative on the Social Development Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) which deals with housing to call for an emergency to be declared in the county. The reasoning for this was that it would ensure that attention was drawn to the worsening situation which those in need of housing assistance in the county found themselves. At the meeting of this SPC on March 7th Dermot was not successful in having his suggestion taken on board by the SPC. Following this it was decided by the Social Inclusion Representatives on Clare PPN Secretariat, on the Social Development SPC, on the Local Community Development Committee and on the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee that Clare PPN should write to all the Councillors in County Clare and ask for their ideas and suggestions on dealing with the issues. Clare PPN wrote to all Councillors on Friday May 12th and Clare PPN awaits their responses. A similar letter will be sent to TDs and Senators also.
Below is a copy of the letter which was sent to each elected Councillor
Clare Public Participation Network
Unit 1 Westgate Business Park,
I am writing to you on behalf of Clare Public Participation Network’s Social Inclusion College to ask you to share your ideas and suggestions for addressing the current housing crisis in Clare. The Social Inclusion College is a grouping of those of our member groups who work to redress poverty, disadvantage and marginalisation in the County. These community groups have become extremely concerned by the housing situation in Clare where there are 2505 households on the housing waiting list and where there have been no social houses completed since 2015. The Social Inclusion College is aware of the plans to develop social housing projects in several areas of Clare with Approved Housing Bodies and in Private Public Partnerships and of Clare County Council’s attempts to purchase and lease vacant houses but it is already clear that even these welcome efforts will not address the extent of the crisis that currently exists not to mind the situation which may be in evidence by the time these developments are completed. The Social Inclusion College asked me to contact all of County Clare’s elected representatives and in particular you the Councillors, because it was felt that very often it is Councillors who are in direct contact with those in need of housing.
Clare PPN Social Inclusion College is extremely concerned at the effects of national policy directives which depend on the private rental sector to ameliorate the housing crisis. In Clare the figures are stark, on today’s date (12/5/17) there are a total of 70 properties available on Daft.ie for private rental in the County. It is the current situation that most of those presenting with housing needs in the County are now being directed towards the Housing Assistance Payment Scheme (HAP) which relies on a supply of private rental accommodation being available and it is clear that there is not anywhere near a sufficient supply of properties available for long term rental in the county to ensure that people and families have access to secure homes. At the current maximum rate of HAP Payment there are a total of 20 properties available in the County.
Clare PPN Social Inclusion college acknowledges that Councillors in County Clare work very closely with people seeking housing and so we are asking you for your responses and ideas on dealing with the housing crisis so that we can let our members know how you envisage this situation being addressed and what actions you intend to take yourself or within your political party to ensure it is addressed. We would be more than happy to receive even a paragraph or some key points about this from you as we appreciate how valuable your time is. We would be very much obliged if you would reply to us either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to the address above. Our members intend to circulate and/or publish the responses from each Councillor, TD and Senator on Clare PPN’s Website and social media channels and so we would like to receive all responses before Monday May 29th if at all possible.
Yours on behalf of Clare PPN’s Social Inclusion College
Clare PPN Secretariat and LCDC member.