IRSP Raise Concerns at Latest Stormont Housing Executive Proposals
On Tuesday it was announced by the Department For Communities that a major shake-up of the Housing Executive is to be proposed.
Under these proposals, the landlord part of the Housing Executive is to be given the go ahead to borrow money to build new homes and upgrade the existing stock.
The IRSP note with concern that under these new proposals, the Stormont Executive is not contributing a single penny more towards housing but instead allowing the HE to borrow money from the private sector.
This being the case, how will the Housing Executive, a public body be able to pay this back? Will money be raised from the tenants through fees or will the Housing Executive be forced to sell their current housing stock that exists in current well established working class areas in order to build new estates in green belt zones, ensuring the continuation of gentrification.
The IRSP will openly question these proposals and lobby elected representatives and our communities to ensure that these proposals are not a garden path towards public housing privatisation.
Over the past number of months, the IRSP through our Drop The Rents campaign have been at the forefront in many communities across Ireland highlighting the failed housing system and assisting those exploited.
While we welcome announcements on Tuesday to tackle landlordism, the proposals failed to address the fundamental issues around landlord exploitation.
Our proposals are;
- Private Landlords in areas that have public housing waiting lists should not be allowed to rent at prices above the local housing benefit levels.
- End the privatisation of public housing stock, and ensure homes bought under government buy back schemes are forced to sell their homes back to the Housing Executive when no longer wanted.
- A complete review of the single let/emergency accommodation top up system that at present keeps 1000s of families in inadequate temporary accommodation as under this system the landlords receives significantly more rent in the form of top-ups.
- Legislation that allows vacant properties in areas of high housing waiting lists to be immediately signed over to public housing.
- An end to sectarian and political discrimination in housing by transferring zonal planning powers to an independent local committee’s compromising of community activists, trade union and tenant unions to ensure housing is needs based.
Stormont and its departments have never acted in the best interests of the working class and it is our understanding that these latest proposals are a fast track towards privatisation of public housing and gentrification on steroids.