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Government called on to address housing shortage in Budget 2014

Threshold has said that up to 30,000 new houses need to be constructed annually to meet demand.

Image: Roofer on new house via Shutterstock

THE HOUSING SHORTAGE in Ireland could become a “full-blown crisis” if nothing is done about it – and the government needs to address this in Budget 2014.

That’s the view of the national housing charity Threshold, which presents its pre-budget submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform today.

Bob Jordan, Chief Executive of Threshold, said that up to 30,000 new houses need to be constructed annually to meet the ongoing demand for new homes.

But he noted that since the recession, “housing construction has virtually ceased, with only 8,500 new units built last year”.

He added that despite high emigration rates, Ireland’s population is increasing, and families are outgrowing their existing homes.

All of these factors have led to an increase in demand for housing, but the supply is simply not there in high-demand urban areas. As a result, we have families in overcrowded apartments where their children have no room to study or play, and we have grown adults returning to live with their parents because they can’t get a home of their own.

He said that Budget 2014 must deal with the housing shortage that has emerged in large urban areas, adding: “Unless we act now, we will condemn an entire generation to live in unsuitable housing.”

In its pre-budget submission, Threshold is calling on the Government to introduce a stimulus for housing construction that is directly based on current housing needs.

Senator Aideen Hayden, Chairperson of Threshold, said that the recovery of the housing market is essential to lifting Ireland out of recession.

Threshold, St Vincent de Paul and Focus Ireland are among the groups that will appear before the Oireachtas Finance Committee today to speak about poverty in Ireland.

It its pre-budget submission yesterday, Focus Ireland said that the government needs to invest 4400 million to deliver 3,000 homes. It said that it could boost the economy by creating up to 3,200 jobs in construction and supply.

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