Reduced resources, fear of housing crisis

Reduced resources, fear of housing crisis
A Stranorlar Electoral Area councillor said the lack of resources for housing will lead to a housing crisis for the next generation.

A Stranorlar Electoral Area councillor said the lack of resources for housing will lead to a housing crisis for the next generation.

Fianna Fáil Cllr. Gerry Crawford said Donegal County Council figures illustrate the inadequacy of state funding to meet local housing needs. At the May meeting of Donegal County Council, he had asked how many houses the council had let in the Stranorlar area this year, and how that compared with demand.

According to council figures, there were 543 applicants approved in the electoral area as of May 21st, 2013. Twenty houses had been offered in that time and 14 houses returned.

“It’s one thing to be in a council housing list when you know there’s some hope, but it’s terrible to be on a council housing list with 534 people when you know they’re only able to accommodate 20,” Cllr. Crawford said. He said with no construction of local authority schemes and no meaningful private construction, houses ready to let become much more important.

“There is a generation coming when those houses just won’t be available, and we’re rushing headlong into a crisis,” he said.

In a breakdown by locality, the discrepancies are equally stark. For example, there were 137 applicants approved in Ballybofey as of May 21st of this year, but just six houses offered there and three houses returned in the same period.

Stranorlar recorded 91 applicants approved during the same period, with four houses offered and one returned. There were 76 applicants approved in Lifford, with four houses offered and three returned. Fifty-one applicants were approved in Castlefin and 45 in Raphoe, with two houses offered in each village. Two houses were returned in Castlefin and three in Raphoe. There were 14 applicants in Porthall and one house offered.

As of May 21st, there were 39 applicants approved in St. Johnston, 28 in Killygordon, nine in Drumkeen, seven in Ballindrait and three each in Liscooley and Cloghan, but no houses offered in any of those localities.

“As a council, it’s our job to keep the department fully aware of the demands of the area, and also that those demands are not just demands -- they reflect hardships inflicted on people when they can’t get proper housing,” Cllr. Crawford said.