The housing crisis has again become a topic of conversation in Ireland. Online and on the radio there has been a lot of anger about the situation facing people trying to buy a home and escape the rental market throughout the country. This issue is having an effect on many social demographics, and in many cases has led to homelessness.
In 2020, there were 1,685 homeless families in Ireland. Finland, a country with a similar population size and economic development, had 150 homeless families. This does indicate that there is a situation in Ireland that is being caused by a localised problem. With the pandemic forcing people to spend more time at home, inadequate housing will only become more apparent.
Throughout the EU, other countries have faced similar problems that potentially could be replicated here. High density planning is common in the Netherlands and could ease some of the pressure in the cities, but there is concern that large companies control these developments and do not help with affordability in the rental market.
The pandemic also does provide opportunities for rethinking urban planning. Perhaps the focus could be on increasing town development and services rather than focusing on the cities. Simplifying the planning process and reusing vacant buildings could increase the supply in the short term, and both of these are areas where towns and smaller communities could be more effective than larger cities.
For Volt Ireland, this is an area of importance that has not been dealt with in a satisfactory way by the Government, as far as big parts of the general population are concerned. We have launched a housing workgroup where we want to develop a coherent policy to tackle the various issues in housing.
If you have thoughts and opinions on this topic, then your contribution would be valued.