‘Kilkenny Council must be given power and funds to fight our housing crisis’ – councillor
A KILKENNY councillor has urged the Government to “remove the red tape” and release the funding needed for the local authorities to solve the deepening housing crisis.
Cllr Andrew McGuinness spoke out after a new report by the property website Daft.ie this week revealed rents in Kilkenny city are at an all-time high, while the levels of housing units available to local families has never been lower.
There are currently over 2,500 people on Kilkenny County Council’s housing list. And although more housing units in the city are currently being developed, Cllr McGuinness said this is nowhere near enough to cater for the demand.
The Kilkenny city local election candidate has outlined a broad series of practical measures to tackle the local housing crisis.
*Giving more power and funding to local authorities to build social housing units according to their individual housing needs;
*Removing the “red tape” preventing councils from tackling their housing problems;
*Identifying a full list of vacant homes in the city to determine their ownership and to “bring them back into use” for the benefit of the people on the housing list;
*A call for local councils, as landlords, to “reinvest” in their housing stock and the “well-being of their tenants”;
*A challenge to each local authority to draw up their own “local simple solutions” to their individual housing problems, with direct input from local tenants and housing agencies.
Cllr McGuinness said: “As the latest figures show, the housing crisis in Kilkenny and the rest of the country is getting worse, not better, despite the seemingly endless Government publicity roadshows about ‘rebuilding Ireland’.
“The facts speak for themselves: the chronic shortage of housing is nothing short of a national emergency. Most young people in Kilkenny haven’t a hope of earning their own home or of getting their foot the property ladder, and now they’re being priced out of the rental market.”
Cllr McGuinness said local authorities are far better placed to deal with the local housing challenges that the central Government or Dublin-based agencies. He called for councils to be given far greater power and support to do what is needed to combat the crisis.
Cllr McGuinness (pictured below) also urged each local authority to take more responsibility as landowners to ensure a far better quality of housing for tenants. He said agencies such as the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PTRB) can also do more to hold landlords to account.
“There’s a huge amount of people who are finding it extremely difficult to find private rented accommodation in Kilkenny city at anything resembling a reasonable price,” Cllr McGuinness said.
“Private rented accommodation has gone through the roof because of that demand and the standard of houses are really plummeted. The PTRB are doing their best to hold landlords to account, but we need to see more of that. We have to see more accountability.”