Novas’ response to Budget 2019

Novas welcomes additional allocation of capital investment for social housing, however it falls short of what is required to meet current demand.

The capital investment of €60m is largely to fund the development of new shelter-style accommodation, including hubs, rather than on long-term homes. We recognise the government’s difficult position of trying to balance its response between immediate need and providing long-term solutions to the current housing crisis, but we must focus on outputting more public housing on public land. While the additional €30m will certainly support more people to access homeless services and support, we need lasting solutions.

The extension of HAP does not include higher HAP payments for current recipients of the programme, who have been subject to significant rent increases since 2016, rather it is for the extension of the programme to more households that will be dependent on the private rented market to meet their social housing need. Furthermore there is no extension of rent pressure zones, with unsustainable rent increases of more than 30% in Limerick in the first six months of this year remaining unchecked!

We are disappointed that a vacant site tax or vacant property tax was not included in the budget as both a revenue raising measure and an incentive for property and site owners to utilise their existing units to ease the unprecedented crisis.

Furthermore, there was little in the budget for people renting in Ireland – no further rent controls, no further tax relief and no affordable rent scheme.

We must repair and protect the social fabric of our country and this begins with housing. We must support people who are homeless and prioritise the thousands of homeless children that will sleep in B&B’s around the country tonight.