22 September 2017
By Elaine Murphy
West Cork Independent TD, Deputy Michael Collins has called on the government to put their words into action and tackle the housing and homelessness crisis head on. As the new session of the Dáil opened Deputy Collins raised the urgent national crisis of housing.
‘The housing crisis is not just an issue in my own constituency of Cork South West, but an issue of great national concern,’ Deputy Collins said. There are many verbal plans to resolve this crisis, but no physical action – no shovel-ready projects, especially in West Cork.’
With an 81% increase in the number of people who have been forced to look for help due to homelessness Deputy Collins wants to see an urgent plan of action put into operation immediately.
‘I have numerous people calling to my constituency clinics every weekend, either after losing their homes or on the verge of such with scrupulous banks putting families under huge pressure. This stress is adding to the current high levels of poor mental health in our county.’
‘During the programme for government talks, I spoke at length of a regeneration programme for small rural towns and villages and the ability to rebuild said areas that have been decimated by emigration,’ Deputy Collins said. Rents are rising at an extraordinary rate throughout many parts of West Cork, where HAP payments and rent allowance are falling far short of what is being sought. As well as this, far too many landlords are refusing to accept HAP, this must be stamped out immediately.’
‘Minister, I don’t envy your task in trying to turn this crisis around, but if your government fails to listen to the advice of the people on the ground, I fear to think what the future holds for the homeless people in our county,’ Deputy Collins concluded.