CORK will experience an “explosion” of homelessness when the ban on evictions expires in April unless the housing minister takes action, last night’s meeting of Cork County Council heard.
Independent Cllr Mary Linehan Foley said she is getting calls “every single day” from people in private rented accommodation with nowhere to go. Ms Foley called on the Council to write to the Minister for Housing, Daragh O’Brien, to alleviate the pressures on people, or there will be an “explosion” of homelessness.
The council’s housing section is at the “pin of their collar” in terms of what they can do. Ms Foley said she is “very nervous”, and with the influx of inquiries that Councillors have had, “what is it going to be like in April,” she asked.
“Since after the Christmas break, my phone has never stopped, with people that are after getting notices to quit. They’ve contacted Threshold. They are all legal, and they have to leave. There is nowhere for them to go. There are no private rented properties in the east Cork area,” she said.
Ms Foley said there is no “light at the end of the tunnel” for these people, as there is no available social housing, and no homeless accommodation.
“We have zero houses available. When Cork County Council ring up landlords or auctioneers, the minute HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) is mentioned, the conversation is over,” said Ms Foley.
Councillors from across the political divide joined in welcoming the motion.
Independent Cllr Ben Dalton O’Sullivan said it is “unfortunate” that landlords are seen as “the enemy”. A woman he knows rents out a property in Cork city for €1,000 per month, but wants to sell immediately.
When taxes, insurance, depreciation, and her own mortgage are accounted for, she is “actually losing money on it.” “We need to stop looking at landlords as the enemy.
“We need to help them stay in the market and leave them provide the HAP properties we need until such time as we can house those people through our own resources here in the Council,” said Mr O’Sullivan.