Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sinn Féin to hold Public Meeting on it's Housing Campaign.

Unite to Change the System – Sinn Féin Launches a Series of Public Meetings highlighting it's Housing Campaign.

"Housing policy in Cork City is not working, and it is time for the people most affected by its failure to unite and change the system". This was the message from Sinn Fein’s Cllr Henry Cremin today as he announced details of the first in a series of public meetings the party is holding on housing across the city. This will take place in Togher Community Centre at 7.30pm this Thursday night.

Cllr Cremin stated:

“The council’s housing policy is not working. There are over 8,000 families on the waiting list for social housing in Cork City. Much of the existing social housing stock in the city is of poor standard with people waiting years for maintenance. Meanwhile there are an estimated 300,000 vacant houses across the state. More than one in six private houses built remain vacant. Many of these ghost estates are situated in Cork City and County. This represents a shocking waste of resources in the face of dire need.”

“Everyone should be able to access good quality housing at an affordable price. However this is not possible for tens of thousands of people in our city. At the core of the problem is government policy, which has been to gradually withdraw from social housing provision and let the market provide. But the market has failed. The past ten years have seen the inflation of a massive housing bubble which put house prices beyond the means of many first time buyers, followed by a property crash that devastated the construction sector and has thrown tens of thousands on the dole. The credit crunch also means that many potential home buyers are being denied mortgages.”

“Sinn Féin wants to see the central role in housing policy given back to local authorities. Local government should be given adequate funding to tackle the waiting lists and improve maintenance. Vacant dwellings in the control of NAMA should be made available to those on the social housing list. Councils should also be empowered to provide genuinely affordable housing for sale in the open market.”

“For this to happen there needs to be a change in government policy. In the meantime there is a lot the council can do by itself. Sinn Féin wants to see a transparent, points based housing list so everyone knows where they are placed and why decisions are taken. We want tenants whose homes need maintenance to be able to carry out the work themselves and have the cost deducted from their rent. We are looking for a charter of rights for tenants to guarantee them a basic level of service from the council.”

“Thursday’s meeting is about mobilising the people most affected by the failures of housing policy to demand change. It is about communities uniting to make a difference. I hope we will have a good turnout from the residents of Togher, as well as others across the city who have witnessed at first hand the failures of the council’s housing policy. This campaign is only beginning. In the coming weeks and months we will be carrying our message into communities and housing estates right around Cork.”

For further information contact Cllr Henry Cremin @ 086-2662874

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