Councillor Derren Ó Brádaigh has expressed further alarm following replies he received from South Dublin County Council to two separate housing related questions he put at the recent county council meeting with regards to specific housing numbers. This follows previous concern raised by the councillor over annual social housing allocation numbers.
Cllr Ó Brádaigh said: “The year behind us, is for most people, the place for it and will be remembered as an extraordinarily difficult and challenging time for everyone. In a year when services were cut and achievement of targets fell far from short, this has and continues to now spell bad news on local authority housing allocation times.
“As of the 1st January 2021, the cumulative number of those in need of social housing, when taking all those in receipt of HAP together with the number of applicants directly on the list amount to 11,112 for South Dublin County. We need to be replacing the costly HAP system that not only prolongs the needs of those in search of a permanently secure home, but essentially attempts to disguise real and immediate housing need.
“We need to be honest and transparent about the figures if we are serious about finding permanent and meaningful housing solutions for our citizens. Too often I am hearing statements such as ‘their housing need is now deemed as being met’ when this is simply not the case – such language is unhelpful and antagonistic.
“In response to my question regarding average waiting times, the time given works out between 7.5 and 10.2 years, depending on the property size required. Even taking the annual allocation figures from 2019, the allocation period would work out to be in the region of eleven to twelve years – based upon 2020’s allocation, the figure would be much longer.
“Whilst I commend the South Dublin County Council and indeed all the local authorities for their enormous work, I believe they are working with one hand tied behind their back. And while I appreciate that averages are averages, the allocation period is in stark contrast being experienced in everyday real lived circumstance.
“Whilst I don’t doubt the figures provided, I do believe that they are an indication of a problem at the top end of the waiting times on the list in certain parts of the county over others, and for that reason call for greater scrutiny into housing allocation delay factors. More importantly, this further reminds us of the now deeper systemic failing to provide affordable and sustainable living spaces to a growing population, thus creating even more complex social issues borne out of the current housing crisis. There now exists an urgent and immediate need for a radical housing build solution.