HOUSING activists are calling for rogue landlords to be brought to justice amid reports of violent threats to tenants facing eviction.
Gary Baus, who is a member of the Cork Branch of the National Homeless Housing Coalition (NHHC), spoke of how people in fear of homelessness have reached out to them with shocking accounts of despicable treatment at the hands of rogue landlords.
Mr Baus was made aware of such issues through his work with CATU Ireland- a union for communities and tenants.
The organisation advocates for renters, mortgage holders and those in emergency and precarious living situations.
He spoke totoday following a peaceful rally over the weekend at Daunt Square. The demonstration saw around 70 people attend and came on foot of a rally organised by the same organisation at Cork City Hall last Friday.
The rally featured a live rendition of singer-songwriter Martin Leahy’s, ‘Everyone Should Have A Home’.
Gary, who marched through Winthrop Street and Oliver Plunkett Street with fellow protestors, described the importance of continued awareness.
"CATU have responded to five illegal evictions, two of which saw the landlord bring in another person with threats of violence,” he said.
“This is the frontline of the housing crisis that we need to respond to immediately.
"The government is trying to stretch a high-demand, low-supply market that enriches the already rich. Now we are seeing homeless among people who have no history of trauma or drug abuse. It's so bad that people we know are sleeping in their cars. They are sleeping in tents. Some of them have access to emergency accommodation in homeless shelters but needed staff involved because of the violence taking place.
"They felt very unsafe and so felt that sleeping in a tent or car was the better option. They have been pushed to the margins because everything they look at is unaffordable. Our whole community has been decimated by the housing crisis."
Mr Baus emphasised that only a minority of people are experiencing any quality of life as the housing crisis deepens.
"Even in the most tumultuous times of 20th century Ireland, social housing was built throughout the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. It was only in the 80s that they started to pivot into the provision of housing into the private market to benefit the rich. That was when the problems started.
"We haven't seen a housing crisis like this since the foundation of the State. It's quite clear that the reason we have this crisis is because they started to look to the private sector which only enriches a small minority of the population and devastates the rest."
To find out more about CATU visit https://catuireland.org/.