New government housing scheme falls flat on its face
Another failed attempt by government to address the housing crisis.
The latest policy implemented by the Irish government to solve the country's ever-worsening housing crisis has failed drastically, figures obtained by The Irish Times show.
Entitled the tenant-in-situ scheme, the policy was reintroduced by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien last April, in an attempt to empower local councils to deal with housing shortages within their constituencies.
The scheme centred around the purchasing of homes offered by landlords who are selling up, and where their tenant is in receipt of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), or the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS).
However, the scheme has failed to register any meaningful results, particularly in Dublin, where the housing crisis is most acutely felt.
Over 460 homes in the capital were offered to various local authorities across the county over recent months, however the revelatory figures obtained showed that just 13 of these homes were in fact purchased through the scheme, which equates to a purchasing rate of just under 3%.
The telling indictment which are these tenant-in-situ buying figures come fresh off the back of a troubling week for both the government and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
On Monday, the government announced that the Pandemic policy of eviction bans would not be extended past its' March 31st expiration date. This was a decision which drew the ire of opposition politicians, with Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin calling the decision "heartless, cruel and shameful".
Matters continued to spiral in calamitous fashion, as on Wednesday it was revealed that Taoiseach and Fine Gael party leader Leo Varadkar had registered himself as a landlord for the first time, in what appeared to be a brazen conflict of interest.
In the wake of these optical nightmares for the coalition government, both the Taoiseach and Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, have cited the tenant-in-situ scheme as a beacon of hope when it comes to dealing with the housing crisis.
Describing the scheme as a crucial apparatus in protecting the poorest households from homelessness in the event of termination notices, the pair also claimed that northwards of 1,500 homes would be bought under the scheme this year.
These comments now appear to the Irish public as deceitful and exaggeratory, given the surfacing of the figures which highlight the scheme's ineffectiveness in the nation's capital.
“We want and we expect local authorities in the main to purchase those homes and move people from being HAP tenants to regular social housing tenants, which is what they should be anyway", said Varadkar at government buildings on Wednesday.
The figures obtained offer a council-by-council breakdown of the schemes utility, with Fingal proving the worst in Dublin, having failed to purchase a single home despite being offered 120.
Dublin City Council have purchased seven homes, whilst both Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and South Dublin county councils have acquired three each.
Speaking on Thursday regarding the figures, Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin was again on hand to offer his party's views on the scheme, labelling the statistics as "truly shocking" and stated that the scheme "was not working".
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