FOR every home allocated by Cork City Council in the month of May, more than four new applicants were added to the city’s housing waiting list.
The latest housing report issued by City Hall showed that 24 offers of social housing were accepted in May. In the same month, 112 first time applicants were added to the social housing waiting list, bringing the total number on the list to 4,620.
A further 76 applicants are awaiting a report on their applications, potentially pushing the figure over 4,700 by the end of June.
The figures have prompted further concern about social housing in Cork city.
Despite the progress of a number of housing schemes throughout the city, elected members of Cork City Council have criticised central government for not being ambitious enough with its housing targets.
Sinn Féin councillor Thomas Gould said that solutions are being delivered too slowly and at too small a scale to have a real impact on those waiting for a home.
“Twenty-four houses were offered by the housing directorate last month in comparison to 112 new applicants,” he said.
“That is more than four times as many people joining the list as leaving it. It is similar to the previous month too.
“The main issue is that the housing targets set by the government just aren’t ambitious enough. The plans under Rebuilding Ireland say we should be building 2,330 units in the next five years. That is only 440 per year. In the first four months of this year, we had more than 440 new applicants added to our social housing waiting list.”
Mr Gould said that the schemes in place by City Hall are the right ones; there simply just isn’t enough of them.
“The small infill schemes and the downsizing ones are good schemes,” he said.
“They are returning life to our city and the communities. Cork City Council is doing tremendous work but the limits on staff and the low targets means that it just isn’t going far enough to tackle the problem. The figures from this housing report prove that things are not getting better.”
Ambitious plans to deliver hundreds of homes on city landbanks, including the Old Whitechurch Road, are advancing, with government schemes pumping millions into making them build-ready.
However, Mr Gould said that they don’t go far enough to tackle the issue.
“It is a drop in the ocean, that proposal of 2,330 units in the next five years,” he said.
Former Lord Mayor, Cllr Des Cahill has rejected Mr Gould’s criticism, though.
The Fine Gael Councillor said: “Over 1,200 new social housing homes were provided in Cork City and County between 2016 and 2017 under build, acquisition and leasing schemes. The targets for Cork for 2018-2021 will see 4,220 new units delivered which will see a total of 5,500 such homes provided to families. This is concrete action.”
He added: “It seems to be a perennial tactic of certain councillors to give out rather than get on with it. If the housing list was reduced to zero some councillors would find something new to moan about.”