Dublin City Councillor Michael O’ Brien of the Anti-Austerity Alliance has today said that DCC should be given NAMA hotels as a public utility for emergency housing situations and that an immediate ban on evictions through rent hikes should be implemented across the city:
There is a homeless epidemic in Dublin in particular being driven by the sky rocketing of rents and the lack of social housing. The council spent €4 million last year housing people in hotels as a form of crisis accommodation. This is a sticking plaster solution, and does nothing to deal with the real problems.
The hotel which they are proposing to acquire should be taken into control by the council for free as a public utility. There should be no payment made to NAMA. The people who are facing homelessness now are doing so because of the after effects of a failed housing policy and the property bubble. It is unacceptable that the councils should have to pay anything to NAMA, who in turn got these properties because of the delusions of grandeur of some now bust developers. They should be used for public services. Any hotel being used must be provided with proper services and facilities so that anyone housed there has access to anything they need.
The worrying part of the council’s approach to dealing with the homeless situation is that they intend to use homeless people in the Dublin City Council area as guinea pigs to experiment on with the new HAPS payment. This will result in the housing needs of people being put into the hands of the private rented sector and leave them at the mercy of homelessness again due to rent hikes, unscrupulous landlords, cuts in payments etc.
An immediate ban on people being evicted because of rent hikes needs to be implemented as we are faced with a crisis of homelessness through sky rocketing rents and no social housing. The solution is to invest in an emergency programme of social housing building.