Waterford election hopeful says his party 'will solve housing crisis'
Labour general election candidate for Waterford, Cllr John Pratt has claimed his party will solve the housing crisis.
“We in the Labour Party are single-minded in our resolve and determination to solve the housing and homelessness crisis, which has become a defining issue for this generation," he said.
“There are now nearly 10,000 people homeless, home ownership is at its lowest in 50 years, and thousands of people are caught in a rental trap with sky-high rents and insecure tenure.
“We are saying, enough is enough. It’s time for a new approach.
“In Waterford City, rents rose by 5.5% to €1,007. While figures for the entire county showed an 11.5% increase to €962 per month in the last year. This is not sustainable or realistic for people on modest or even average incomes.
“Labour will build 80,000 social and affordable homes to buy and rent on public land over a five-year period, through the creation of a €16 billion fund.
“Too many people are struggling to pay high rents, or simply can’t find an affordable place to live. Adults are having to live with their parents, people are spending too much time commuting and even those in good jobs are struggling to save a deposit to buy their own home.
“Labour will immediately freeze rents to give people certainty and allow time for enough homes to be built. We’ve done it before, and despite what other parties might say, it can be done again.
“We’ll also introduce rent caps for a limited period until the housing crisis is solved.
“We want to make renting count and will move to ensure that rental payments and deposit savings are counted as part of credit ratings to help first-time buyers.
“We’ll also re-introduce a Rent to Buy scheme through our affordable housing plan where a person with a tenancy for three years that successfully pays all their rent would see it turned into a deposit for the property that they will then go on to own.
“Labour wants to make renting more secure, and we’ll bring in long-term leases with rent certainty and stop unfair evictions. We’ll also introduce a Deposit Protection Scheme and NCT-style inspection of rental properties.
“Many people who are becoming homeless now are coming from the private rental sector, and we believe these measures will greatly reduce these numbers.
“But we also want to strengthen the Housing First approach to end the homeless crisis, by moving people into long-term homes with whatever ongoing support they need with other issues, so that they can maintain their tenancies.
“The Labour Party has a record of building homes and freezing rents, and we’ll do it again to ensure Ireland is no longer the outlier in Europe when it comes to housing.”