Tipperary County Council helped 753 people in the past year because they were homeless, it has been revealed. A total of 509 presented to the council in 2013 with 244 using the local authority this year, director of housing Clare Curley told Nenagh district councillors at their September meeting.
She agreed that the council’s housing section was “under pressure” and said they were working to amalgamate the different rent structures that were in place before the local elections.
“Homelessness has increased but all those who presented have been accommodated,” she said.
Cllr Seamus Morris stated that it was hard to get accommodation as landlords were being “choosy” and “snubbing their noses” at people on rent allowance.
He said the rent cap was increasing while the allowance was decreasing and people were having to pay the difference out of their own pockets, causing them to fall into debt.
“I am sending more and more people to the housing section. The response of the staff as been superhuman but they are working in quicksand,” he said.
The Sinn Fein councillor urged that the council go back to providing social housing and not be providing social housing through the private sector. He also urged that the Government bring in a new tenant purchase scheme.
Cllr Hughie McGrath, Ind, revealed he knew of one couple with a sick child who got a text from their landlord saying they had to leave.
“We are failing people on the housing list,” he said. “The system is broke.”
Cllr McGrath backed Cllr Morris’s call for capital grants to allow the council to build their own houses.
Ms Curley said the council was hoping for a response from the Department for the Environment for the rent cap to be examined and she understood a new national strategy was to be announced.
“We will be proactive in seeking funding if there is a change in Government policy,” she said.
She told councillors that there were 2,546 people in total on the council’s housing list, with 581 in the Nenagh area and 723 in the Thurles / Templemore area.
Cllr Ger Darcy called for the council to look at buying up land before it became too expensive again. He also asked that loans be available to people who want to build for themselves.
“You can’t get a house in Puckaun. There are 18 people on the housing list there and they are having to leave their native parish,” he said.
Ms Curley said the council had land in Puckaun and Borrisokane and hopefully they could use it. She was also hopeful that a new tenant purchase scheme would be put in place