ELECTION 2020: Mayor unveils plan to fix Waterford’s housing crisis
The Mayor of Waterford, Labour Party general election candidiate John Pratt, has unveiled his party’s plan to fix the local and national housing problem.
“We are saying, enough is enough. It’s time for a new approach,” said Cllr Pratt.
“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.”
Over the last year rents in Waterford city rose by 5.5% ot an average of €1,007, compared to the national figure of an 11.5% increase to €962 per month. Cllr Pratt said these increases are “not sustainable or realistic for people on modest or even average incomes”.
Outlining proposals to tackle the crisis, Cllr Pratt said Labour wants to 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.
He added: “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.”
Cllr Pratt (pictred below) also said his party in power would “immediately freeze rents”, introduce rent caps and a ‘rent to buy’ scheme through an affordable housing plan.
He added: “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.”