The Housing Minister wants to see a transformation of the private rental sector.
Jan O’Sullivan says unfinished estates must be made secure and safe in the short-term but long term plans must be put in place.
She says we must rethink the old hierarchy of the past when it comes to housing.
Speaking at the Labour Party’s annual conference at the weekend, the Limerick woman said: “A common thread through proceedings at this Conference has been how we must totally transform the philosophy and principles behind public policy across the entire Government. This is particularly true of housing policy.
“What has passed as housing policy for the past decade has been largely a disaster.
“The results of that debased policy are, sadly, an all too common aspect of daily life. Every day families are struggling to make mortgage payments on grossly overvalued properties, families live on unfinished estates, people without a permanent home are at their wits end trying to find a stable, safe environment where they can begin to rebuild their lives.
“A decade when housing was viewed solely in economic terms has caused social misery.
“My philosophy of housing is not dictated by ownership, title deeds, or ever rising values. My philosophy of housing is rooted in the basic need of every citizen to have safe, secure, comfortable housing, appropriate to their needs.
“My philosophy of home is of an environment where parents can safely raise a family, where residents feel part of a vibrant community, and where the social values of community and stability always outrank the monetary value of mere bricks and mortar.
“With that philosophy in mind, housing policy in the coming years will focus on the provision of housing, using all the options at our disposal, tailored at individual needs.
“The failed policies of the past established a false and damaging hierarchy of housing. Home ownership was the be-all and end-all; private rented accommodation was a short-term measure for twenty somethings and social housing or state-assisted rental accommodation came last – in terms of social standing and policy focus. We must completely rethink our attitude – the old paradigm, that old hierarchy of the past is no roadmap to serve our citizens in the 21st century.”
The Minister outlined her plans for the coming years as follows:
- A transformation of the private rented sector so that it becomes a viable long-term option with security and high standards for individuals and families – a situation not uncommon among many of our European neighbours.
- A new partnership in social housing provision with recognised housing associations, and co-operatives.
- Ensuring that unfinished estates are made secure and safe in the short term and that we have plans in place to make them into quality places to live.
- A renewed focus on the scandal of homelessness that is targeted at long-term housing solutions.
- Despite the stringent budget situation, to ensure that those communities who have rightly fought for regeneration to turn around decades of public and private neglect see real progress being delivered.