There are 10,000 people in Clare on the housing waiting list according to Labour Party in Clare.
This is the key finding in a housing study recently completed by the party based on data acquired from Clare County Council, in April, that there are 2987 applicants on the housing waiting list in Clare with 1318 being HAP accommodated applicants.
An applicant can be an individual, a couple, a couple with children or a single parent with children, so Labour conservatively estimate that the 2987 applicants equate to at least 10,000 people.
The local authority, Clare County Council, is responsible for providing housing for people who cannot afford to rent accommodation and also qualify on a means test e.g. currently the single person income limit is €25,000 and €28,125 for a couple with 3 children.
Labour says that these are very low income limits and force many thousands of Clare people not on the housing list to rent on the private market or live at home indefinitely and put their lives on hold. Labour estimates that 15,000 people are in the private rentals.
These findings are stark and Clare Labour party are saying that the local authority should and could be building the necessary social and affordable housing for our people like they did from the 1930’s to the 1970’s.
Clare County Council are obliged to provide adequate shelter. In the past the local authorities built social housing but unfortunately have they not been given the necessary funds for many years. Instead the council spends government money on HAPs payments to subsidise rental of 1,300 private properties in 2021.
Nationally public housing is increasingly being provided though 500 Approved Housing Bodies (AHB’s). The numbers of these Not-For-Profit organisations has increased dramatically in recent years, including household names like Respond, Cluid, Fr McVerry Trust. All these AHB’s have overheads, CEOs and staff and either build or acquire houses for people on the housing list. While these activities are laudable, the ANBs adds another layer of bureaucracy, complications and cost to the state to provide for those that need housing.
In the 2016 census we established that there were 5,936 vacant houses and 4,821 holiday homes in Clare. Meanwhile nationally the government is spending €1.0 billion annually on HAPs, RAS, leasing etc to subside private landlords, this is in addition to the costs of all the temporary arrangements in B&Bs and hotel rooms to house thousands of families who are in dire need of permanent homes.
Clare Labour Party are also asking Clare County Council to speed up the Town Centre First plan and engage with over 80 towns and villages in Clare to bring back to life unused houses/sites and repopulate these places again to bring vibrancy and thriving schools, shops and communities. Because most infrastructure is already in place in these settlements, it is cost effective to immediately connect these houses as they are reconstructed.
Clare Labour Party says these local efforts will help reduce the numbers on the housing list and house our people.