PEOPLE on Cork city’s housing list are facing longer wait times for home, after changes to the boundary led to the list increasing by almost 1,500 applicants in May.
“The light at the end of the tunnel [for those on the list] is a lot further away now,” Sinn Féin councillor Thomas Gould said.
There were 4,063 families or individual on the city’s housing list in April but this increased to 5,546 in May. Most of the increase came from people transferring over from the county list, as part of the boundary extension that saw large areas of the suburbs and commuter towns become part of an enlarged Cork city.
“It is an enormous increase, and the downside is there is very little social or affordable housing after coming into the city with the boundary extension,” Mr Gould said. “For anyone on the city list, this is a complete disaster. It has diluted their chances of getting housed.
“This will definitely mean the waiting lists will get longer and that the crisis continues.”
Mr Gould said the lack of any major plans for social or affordable housing in the areas that came into the city means it will be years before any meaningful amount of housing stock gets built.
“Even if we decide now to build houses in some of the new areas, it will be five years realistically before anyone will move in,” he said.
Mr Gould is calling for a new strategy at both a council and national level, saying what has been done so far is not working.
“It is the definition of madness to keep doing the same thing and expect different results,” he said.
He pointed out that, leaving aside the boundary extension influx, the numbers on the list grew by 101 in May. 21 houses were allocated during the month.
“So for every house we gave out, five new applicants joined the list,” he said. “”[The council] will say there are more than 400 houses under construction but they will take up to two years to complete.
Mr Gould said current efforts to tackle the crisis are completely inadequate and called for a major increase in social and affordable housing being built.
“The City Council are reaching Government targets every year,” he said. “The Government figures aren’t ambitious enough, if they were more ambitious we wouldn’t have the crisis we have now. We need a radical change of strategy.”