(25 July 2021) The Raise the Roof housing campaign group, which includes Age Action, has called for urgent Government action to address the deepening housing crisis, which has seen the vast majority of low and average income workers and families ‘priced out’ of the housing market due to the lack of affordable homes to purchase or rent.
The Raise the Roof campaign said that despite repeated promises the Government has failed to tackle the growing affordability gap in house prices and rents and failed to deliver new public and affordable homes in the numbers required to end the worst housing and homeless crisis in the history of the State.
The campaign group is to stage a limited protest - in line with public health guidelines - at the Department of Housing at 1.15pm on Monday, July 26, focused on the Government’s failure to bring forward meaningful measures to address the deepening crisis after more than a year in office, as seen with the latest delay to the publication of its promised housing plan.
The protest will be attended by representatives from a range of civil society, trade union and political groupings (see below) to demand urgent action on the issue and to highlight a planned national housing demonstration in Dublin on October 2, the public health situation allowing.
The Raise the Roof campaign says any new plan must prioritise affordability through a major State-led housing programme that is charged with a clear mandate on the delivery of genuinely affordable homes for all, with prices and rents linked to income levels.
It said that investment in housing must be front-loaded and doubled, in line with the recommendation from the Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI), a proposal supported by other expert bodies and groups.
Current excessive price levels mean that even an average priced home in Dublin is beyond the means of some 85% of all families, based on income levels and borrowing rules.
Raise the Roof has also called for a guarantee that all public land will be retained in public ownership and used exclusively for delivery of public and affordable homes and cost rental units, rather than sold or disposed off to private developers.
Official figures show that the State and local authorities can deliver new homes at up to half the cost of houses provided by private developers.
In addition, any new Government plan must address chronic insecurity and excessive prices in the rental sector, through the development of a Secure Tenancy Model that would see a Rent Freeze, a ban on ‘no fault’ evictions and create tenancies of indefinite duration.
The Raise the Roof campaign is also calling for the Government to commit to holding a referendum on the Right to Housing, to underpin housing policy and ensure the State meets its international human rights obligations.
Raise the Roof campaign coordinator, Macdara Doyle said: “This ongoing crisis and emergency is neither inevitable nor beyond resolution. But to do so, we need to see a radical change in policy and an end to the ‘developer-led’ led policy of the last decade that sees the State waste money on expensive subsidies, instead of building the affordable homes we need.”
The Raise the Roof campaign group is comprised of trade unions, housing and homeless agencies, women’s groups, political parties, representatives of older people, children’s advocacy groups, community organisations, student unions, Traveller groups, housing academics and experts.