Home News Community “Rental crisis a ticking time bomb for old and young in Laois”

“Rental crisis a ticking time bomb for old and young in Laois”

Borris-In-Ossory Houses

Local Area Representative for the Labour Party, Eoin Barry says the Alone and Threshold report published this week highlights the hardening of inequality through Government’s failures in housing policy.

The report shows that 40% of elderly people renting in the private market now expect to rent for the rest of their lives.

Urging support for Labour’s Homeless Families Bill to put the rights of the child at the centre of decision making on housing, Mr Barry said Government cannot continue to follow a private market approach on housing in Laois.

He said: “Time and time again the struggles of older people are ignored by society and the state. There are so many cases of people who are really struggling to make ends meet in laois between the extortionate cost of rent and of food.

“Our entire housing and pension system has relied on the assumption that people over 65 will be homeowners, who have paid off their mortgages and are not paying rent.

“The non-contributory state pension sits at a meagre €13,000 a year. Even with HAP payments, we cannot expect people to pay for private rental accommodation – or a mortgage – on that income.

“Our population is ageing rapidly, and with the chronic housing shortage the many generations locked out of home ownership will need a much more sophisticated pension system to cope with the rising cost of housing. This is the ticking time bomb of the housing crisis.

“Government can’t wring their hands now and say they didn’t know this crisis existed. Many NGOs and civil society groups have been warning them for years.

“We also need to see a move made to ensure that every child in Laois has a roof over their head. In 2017, Jan O’Sullivan published a bill to ensure that families at risk of homelessness are protected by the State, the Housing (Homeless Families) Bill.

“This would require local authorities to recognise the child’s interests as paramount – this would ensure greater protection for the rights of a child in a family unit when applying for accommodation or other assistance.

“With almost 12,000 people homeless, 175 of whom are over 65, and over 3,000 of whom are children, this problem is set to get worse in the years ahead as many people in the generation to come have no hope of ever owning their own home.

“Current housing policy serves no one, not the young and not the old. There is no further time to waste.”

SEE ALSO – Laois native set to contest for a seat on Offaly County Council in 2024