An introduction to the history of State Housing.
Our guest speaker for the evening, Alan Johnson from the Salvation Army, was introduced by Brian Burke.
Alan Johnson told us about the introduction of State Housing in 1938 when the first state house was built in Miramar. The programme was originally designed to cater for working people and the government was involved in 40% of home ownership. Over 50% of the existing number of state houses were built in the period 1938 – 1950. By the mid 50’s, state housing came under attack for apparent moral failure. A savage budget in 1991 cut benefits and seriously damaged home ownership.
In recent years a programme to replace ‘worn out’ state houses with a higher density mix of state and private dwellings has been introduced however this is not adding to the number of state houses available and the numbers on the MSD’s waiting list have grown from 5,000 to 8,000 over the last two years.
Public sentiment has changed in recent years with programmes such as TV3’s Hidden Homeless and Lisa Owen’s exposure of predatory landlords creating awareness.
The sleepout Park Up for Homes attracted over 1000 people in 600 cars - co-ordinators Justin Latif​ and Jasmine Kovach said​ "we'd like people to come and show solidarity with the homeless," "we aren't trying to solve this crisis in a single night. It's about raising the issue and getting rid of the 'us' versus 'them' mentality around it.”
The 2018 budget allows for 6400 additional state homes over the next four years however, a further 2000 state housing units are needed each year to prevent further growth in the waiting list.