Tipperary County Council says it will deliver 200 new housing units this year
People would have to make a choice between remaining in emergency accommodation or accepting the offer of a home in another area outside of their first preference, Sinead Carr, Tipperary County Council’s Director of Housing has stated.
She said she understood this could present difficulties with children having to move schools and families having to relocate to different towns.
However, people in such situations would have a home for life if they abided by the terms of their tenancy agreement. People would have to be open to such opportunities and would have to work with the council, she said.
Ms Carr made her remarks during a meeting of Clonmel Borough District, when the housing crisis in the town and county was discussed.
“We all want the same thing - houses in place and people accommodated,” she said, adding that the council expected to deliver more than 200 new units throughout the county before the end of the year.
She said that currently there were 140 notices to quit in the county and the council staff were doing everything to find homes for people, and were inundated trying to manage the issue of homelessness, with more than 50 people in emergency accommodation.
She said she was open to any solutions that people might have. Rising house prices and the level of additional responsibility placed on landlords were adding to the difficulties, as were significant increases in costs and tightness around the labour market.
Cllr Richie Molloy said there were a number of Clonmel families who found out last week that they were about to become homeless. It was a difficult situation, with landlords withdrawing from the market and selling their properties.
He was dealing with one family for the previous 12 months who had been served with a court order to leave their house. They had presented as homeless at County Hall in Clonmel and were fortunate that a hostel had become available.
Cllr Molloy said he felt very sorry for people who found themselves in that position, but families might have to accept that they would have to move outside of the district. He said the fact that no houses had been built for many years was a huge issue.
Cllr Niall Dennehy said this was a national issue and only the previous day President Michael D Higgins had “castigated” the government, saying the housing issue was no longer a crisis but a disaster. Cllr Dennehy said that NAMA was a bad bank with public money and was profiteering from the provision of houses.
Cllr Pat English said that the crisis situation that had arisen in Clonmel last week had been on the cards for a long time, and this was “a national disaster that will only get worse.”
People were being made homeless through no fault of their own because landlords were selling up. He knew that the staff in the housing section were working flat out but the sad thing about it was that the accommodation wasn’t to be found.
He said they were trying to play catch-up for the last 25 years because no social houses had been built in that time. This wouldn’t be solved in a year or two but everyone needed to put their heads together on this and try and find a short-term solution, said Cllr English.
Cllr Siobhán Ambrose said that everyone was doing their best but the reality was that there weren’t enough houses being built, and houses wouldn’t be built overnight.
A long-term solution and not a short-term solution was needed, and there were pressures on housing in every county.
She hoped that some solutions to address the issues in the short term would be proposed at the meeting of the county council’s strategic policy committee.
Deputy Mayor John FitzGerald said the housing problem had been “going around in circles for the last few years”, and they had been doing a “loaves and fishes act” for a number of years now.
The supply wasn’t coming quickly enough for people who qualified for social housing and there was a huge housing problem in the country.
Cllr FitzGerald said he welcomed President Higgins’ recent intervention. Sometimes it took a figurehead to trigger a thought process or a movement as to how a problem could be solved.
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