With some 5,000 households in Galway on the housing waiting list, and the Simon Community seeing a 57 per cent increase in people seeking its services, the city is in the grip of a housing crises.
This is the view of Sinn Féin Galway City East councillor Mairéad Farrell, who is calling on the Government to use €1 billion from the Strategic Investment Fund to invest in a public housing building programme, which, she argues would see 6,600 new homes being built throughout the State.
“Constructing 6,600 new homes will create thousands of jobs,” she said, “increase VAT revenue, drive down rents, and house many thousands of people currently in cramped subsidised private accommodation or in emergency accommodation.”
Cllr Farrell is also calling on the Government to introduce rent controls, local authority trusts and a deposit retention scheme, especially as rents have risen steadily in Galway.
“If 6,600 people were taken off Rent Supplement from this investment it would save €148 million over five years,” she said. “Linking rents to the Consumer Price Index and the quality of the accommodation would help stop the flow of people from rented accommodation into homelessness.”
Cllr Farrell said “the social good and the public interest must come first” and that to “condemn a family to homelessness is far more costly than to give them a home”.