HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
Everyone has to have a safe and secure home, I see this as our most important right and need. There’s a huge problem now with people who are losing their homes. Government needs to step in and make sure that they don’t. Absolutely more needs to be done.
Fianna Fail’s Central Bank Bill 2015 aims to end the current rip-off of variable rate mortgage customers. There are 300,000 homeowners on standard variable rate mortgages. These families are failing to benefit from the current low interest rate environment in Europe. The Bill will give responsibility to the Central Bank to monitor the level of competition in the market and the fairness of rates charged, which will ensure customers get better, fairer treatment through deterring the banks from charging excessive rates.
Kildare is the third most expensive county to buy a home in, with only Wicklow and Dublin being higher, and prices continue to rise. Prices rose by 19.4% between 2014 and 2015 – one of the highest national price increases.
Our rents are sky-high, we have the third highest average monthly rental price in the state. In 2015 the average rent was €981. Rents increased at a rate of 15% between 2014-2015. Over 4000 Kildare residents receive rent supplement – this is a third of all private rented housing. Only Dublin and Cork have higher levels. Two thirds of those in receipt of rent supplement are considered long-term.
There are relatively low numbers of people in social housing, but a huge housing waiting list. The numbers on the waiting list are 6,500 – but bear in mind they are only the applicants. The amount of people waiting for a house in Kildare is actually 16,500 people. This is the figure we must draw attention to. Between 2013-2015, this list has grown by 20%. There are just under 7000 children on the waiting list.
According to Simon, 84% of people accessing services from Simon in Wicklow and Kildare were registered for local authority housing. 40% of the cases being dealt with by the homeless support teams were families with children.
Kildare County Council has 100 families with children on its homeless list. The major homeless charities, Simon, Focus and Threshold, all concur that rent caps imposed by the government are inadequate and the chief source of the problem. It is proving impossible for families to maintain tenancies. The rent cap for a three bed house in Kildare is €750 – yet the average rent, is €981 – and that’s only the average. We have the third highest average monthly rental price in the state – and rents increased at a rate of 15% between 2014-2015.
If you are homeless or are at the risk of losing your home, here are important contact numbers:
Kildare County Council Homeless Service: 045 980705 email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Kildare: 045 875548 9.30 – 12.30 Email: email@example.com
Peter McVerry Trust: 1800804307. This helpline runs outside of Kildare Co Council office hours, Monday – Friday, 5pm –9pm; Saturday – Sunday, 12 – 5pm.