Michael Fitzmaurice says that a report published by NAMA which showed that Local Authorities have turned down over 1,000 homes owned by NAMA because of a lack of demand for social housing in their areas is “a shocking statistic in the middle of a housing crisis nationwide”.
Michael Fitzmaurice added that the figure of 136 Roscommon properties “is especially high”.
“I fully realise that in some cases there are genuine reasons why the offer of these homes is not being taken up but I ask the question, are we at a stage in this country where people will not accept a house until it is located exactly where they want to live?”
Michael Fitzmaurice went on to say “I am writing to the Department this week to propose a system whereby a person who is prepared to settle for living in a house which may not be where they want to live should be given priority when a house comes up in the area that they wanted to live in in the first place. If people have to settle for living five or ten miles away from where they might choose then let us ensure that there is adequate transport and other services in place” he added.
“The most important thing should be to give people a roof over their heads and we have to think outside the box on this problem. People will have to be more flexible on this issue or this crisis will never be solved. Let’s house the people who require it first and then we can solve the locality issue as the years go on.
“I will be proposing that the allocation of houses by local authorities be done on a points basis and that people who are prepared to be housed in the same county but not in the area that would have been their first choice would be given bonus points when a house becomes available in the area that they wanted in the first place. Flexibility is the key to solving this issue” he concluded.