Housing crisis: Kilkenny voters urged to make their voices heard at the ballot box
Average rents in Kilkenny have soared by almost a third over the past four years, one of State’s main housing agencies has said.
Focus Ireland also revealed there were 44 people in emergency homeless accommodation in Kilkenny over the Christmas period.
The agency said there are currently 818 families in Kilkenny currently waiting for social housing, while the average rent in the city and county has risen by 27% since 2016.
A recent ESRI survey found up to 35,000 new homes need to be built every year in Ireland just to keep up with demand, of which at least 10,000 need to be social houses. Just 39 social homes were built in Kilkenny in the first nine months of 2019.
Commenting on the figures, Focus Ireland South-East Manager David Niblock said housing and homelessness have become “major themes” of the general election campaign.
He urged voters affected by the housing crisis to make their voices heard at the ballot box this Saturday.
Mr Niblock said: “There are few people in Ireland who have not been affected by rapidly rising rent prices, a shortage of affordable housing and lengthy social housing lists. However, in all the discussion, it can be too easy to lose sight of the fact that this national crisis is having serious local consequences.”
Focus Ireland works in partnership with Kilkenny County Council to tackle the housing problem.
But Mr Niblock added: “We need policies at national level which are effective and ambitious. The housing crisis is a problem locally and nationally, and we need to make our concerns clear by voting on the issue. If housing and homelessness are priorities for you, I would urge you to make that clear to every candidate or canvasser you meet over the next few days and when the next government forms. Ask our politicians clearly and repeatedly how they will fix this crisis. How many houses they will build? What actions will they take to help our homeless young people and families?
“We need to make it known that we will not accept an Ireland where almost 4,000 children have no stable home to grow up in. As a country, we can do better. Locally, we need to make our voices heard to canvassers and politicians on the doorsteps.”