By Leigha O Reilly Hughes
With homelessness, young people leaving the country as they are unable to afford rent, families living in hotels and the lack of housing for those who need it, the housing crisis is one of the most prevalent and pressing issues that Ireland is facing.
There are many factors that make up the cause of the housing crisis in Ireland, and the government is one of the biggest problems. The government has a large share of the responsibility due to the fact that there have been years of housing issues in the country with not much progress to solve.
It is also the result of allowing Irish property to be placed in the hands of profit-seeking corporations rather than those seeking to provide housing for those who need it.
One of the biggest problems the housing crisis has caused is the number of homeless people in Ireland.
There are many causes to homelessness in Ireland, such as personal reasons like mental health and abusive relationships. However, the biggest cause of homelessness in Ireland is due to the lack of affordable housing available.
The Department of Housing releases monthly data that captures details of individuals in state funded emergency accommodations.
The monthly homelessness report of August 20201 showed that 6,023 homeless adults entered emergency accommodation. 4,220 of those individuals were from dublin. The number of homeless males made up 3,949 of this number, which is 66%. Females made up 2,074, which is 34%.
Source: Department of Housing
There were a total of 953 families homeless in Ireland in August 2021. 723 of these families were from Dublin. This resulted in 2,189 total child dependents.
Ballymun, which is an outer city suburb of Dublin, is hit hard with homelessness.
“20% of Dublin’s homeless are from Ballymun,” says Dean Scurry, a homelessness activist from the Ballymun area.
Abandoned homes in Ballymun. Poster reads “this house could be a home”
“With that there are about 90 vacant homes in Ballymun that could be used for families instead of leaving them in hotels for other organisations to make money,” says Scurry.
Abandoned homes in Ballymun
The impact on young people
The housing crisis has caused serious problems for the younger generation of Ireland. Younger people between the ages of 20-30 are paying higher amounts on housing for smaller and rented accommodation.
Ireland also has one of the highest rental costs in Europe.
According to the Irish Times, the average monthly price for rent stood at up to 1,477, while the average is now 2,035 euro. This is 100% up from the 742 euro a month that was seen in 2011.
These high rent prices have resulted in young people living at home, unable to afford rent and save for mortgages. It has also caused young people to emigrate to different countries as affording rent is out of the question.
Eva Tiernan, 22 from Dublin who has a Level 8 in science degree from UCD, has had to emigrate to Whistler Canada for the foreseeable future.
“The renting prices in Dublin are unrealistic. I would love to be able to move out in my city surrounded by the people I love, but I can’t,” says Tiernan.
“I feel like my only option is to move to another country so I can live a life where I’m not solely working to pay rent. I want to eventually come back to Dublin, but how will I ever be able to rent and save for a mortgage there?”
In the last four years, 308,000 people have left Ireland – 125,000 of those aged between 15 and 24 years.
The government’s new “housing for all” strategy intends to address the housing issue by expanding supply, promising to build 33,000 homes per year by 2030, a level of residential building not seen since before the financial crisis.
A decade of escalating costs and severe undersupply has created a divide in Irish politics, isolating major parties from a growing number of young voters.
When the Budget of 2022 was released, people were hopeful that the government would provide a solution to help put an end to the growing problem. However, the Government failed to commit to a target of 20% of all housing stock to be social housing, with an annual capital envelope of €3.3bn for social housing. The allocation of €1.7bn for a social housing build of 9,000 units and €224m for 4,100 affordable units in 2022 needs to be increased substantially
If rent costs are not lowered and more affordable housing isn’t being built for those who need it, homelessness and emigration of Irish people will continue to rise.