The housing and homelessness crisis will not only continue, but will get worse unless there is a fundamental, and indeed, radical change in how housing is delivered.
We believe the right to an affordable home, with security of tenure, is a basic human right which should be enshrined in the Constitution.
However, to vindicate that right, we need a sufficient supply of affordable housing. The reliance on the private sector, of developer led planning and the abandonment of council house building by successive governments as a deliberate policy has been an abject failure and is the reason for the housing and homelessness crisis.
The state must now play the key role. There is sufficient, already zoned, state owned land to build at least 100,000 public housing units. This should be the basis of an emergency, 5 year programme by the state in conjunction with Local Authorities (LAs).
At present, it can take up to 4 years for a LA to achieve planning permission to build. There is a need for a state owned housing agency, to speed up the planning process for LAs and to build directly, employing workers and apprentices on trade union pay rates and conditions.
No public land should be given to private developers in exchange for a limited amount of public housing.
We favour a mix of traditional council housing and the European Cost Rental model. This would achieve mixed tenure, with well designed, well built, environmentally sustainable housing with an emphasis on community facilities, such as community centres, shops, cafes, creches, primary care centres and good public transport.
Rents must be affordable with long term security of tenure. The differential rent system will apply to traditional council housing. The cost rental model will provide apartments for rent well below the going rate in the private sector. It will cater for workers whose income is above the limits for council. housing lists.
Finance for this programme can be borrowed at historically low interest from the EU Investment Fund to be repaid over 40 years.
The issues of traveller and student accommodation and Direct Provision will need to be dealt with here.