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Presentation at NERI Seminar by Dr Rory Hearne, NUI Maynooth

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The current housing crisis in Ireland is not a mere ‘blip’, with a return to a ‘normal’ functioning housing market due to take place in the coming years. This paper argues that the Irish housing system, as a result of government housing policies combined with macro-level shifts in the economy towards precariousness and the increasing importance of global investment funds, has undergone a structural ‘shock’. This has resulted in a dramatic increase in housing inequalities and exclusion, from the rise in homelessness and those in mortgage arrears to the emergence of ‘generation rent’. This paper provides a critical analysis of the key government policies of marketisation and privatisation of social housing (HAP, Public Private Partnerships and leasing) and the financialisation of housing (the strategy for ‘economic recovery’ – NAMA and Real Estate Investment Trusts in private rental provision and land sale, vulture funds in mortgage arrears, the prioritising of investor interest over tenant security of tenure) and their role in contributing to the crisis and rising inequality. It looks, not just at who are ‘losing’ but also documents the ‘winners’ - those who have benefitted most from this crisis and the post-2008 housing regime in Ireland. Finally, it presents the case that if the crisis is to be addressed a fundamental shift is required in policy approach to treat housing as a social good and human right, but this is only like to happen if there is a cross-societal citizen mobilisation, with trade unions, social movements and NGOs playing a key role, in re-imagining a new paradigm for housing as a home in Ireland.

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Presentation at NERI Seminar by Dr Rory Hearne, NUI Maynooth

  1. 1. Housing shock in Ireland. New inequalities, financialisation, and the right to a home Dr Rory Hearne, Post Doctoral Researcher, Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute Presentation draws on on-going research and writing –academic and policy: An absence of rights: homeless families and social housing marketisation in Ireland, Administration, forthcoming Rebuilding Ireland: A Flawed Philosophy? Analysis of the Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, 2017, Centre for Faith and Justice Housing and Austerity, in Roche, W., O Connell, P., Prothero, A. (2017) Austerity and Recovery in Ireland, Oxford University Press Using the Human Rights Based Approach to tackle housing deprivation in an Irish urban housing estate, Journal of Human Rights Practice, Vol 6, Issue 1, March 2014, pp 1-25
  2. 2. O 1. Theoretical frameworks & literature O 2. The housing shock in Ireland O 3. Roots of crisis - Marketisation of social housing O 4. Roots of crisis - Financialisation processes O 5. Impact on inequality & the right to housing O 6. Alternative policy options O 7. Politics of solidarity in housing – challenges and possibilities
  3. 3. Urban political economy understanding of changing role of the state’s approach to housing under neoliberalism & financialisation OCommodification & marketisation of housing –decline of welfare state e.g. privatisation of public housing– create new markets for capital- “accumulation through dispossession” - rise of inequality (Harvey, 2005) ODestruction of ‘society’ –creation of a ‘property owning democracy’ - ‘Asset based welfare’ (pension) Housing: Home (public good) Commodity/Investment asset OExplosion of finance capital has created challenges as profitable investment opportunities become saturated and new ones must be created. In turn, urban space has become an increasingly important channel for absorbing finance capital (Fields, 2017) OThe financialisation of housing has also involved a broader restructuring of the finance-real estate relationship through the increased role of large-scale corporate finance and global private equity funds purchasing and investing in residential property and land (Madden and Marcuse 2016). Global ‘Wall of Money’ Investment in housing/real estate as new ‘market’
  4. 4. Financialisation and economic inequality •Housing and real estate opened as a key sector for wealth accumulation for the growing ‘wall of money’ (pension funds, hedge funds, wealth funds) in a context of rising risk in the wider ‘real’ economy (Dewilde and De Decker 2016; Fernandez 2015; Rolnik 2013) •“Safety deposit box” & tax avoidance mechanism for the wealthy - Housing systems playing a key role in the growing wealth of the ‘1%’ and the re-emergence of ‘rentier capital’ (McCabe 2011; Piketty 2014). Financialisation Housing profit extraction Housing household cost = Inequality (capital share) (labour burden)
  5. 5. Rental sector as new market in post-2008 financialisation • Global institutional investors such as private equity funds buying billions of distressed assets and loans and increasingly, through securitisation and direct purchase, investing in the private rental ‘build-to-rent’ sector (Aalbers 2016; Dewilde and Ronald 2017) • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are playing a key role in opening up such housing as an investment asset for global capital (Byrne, 2017) Build to rent is “compelling opportunity because of the limitless demand” (PWC, Emerging Trends in Real Estate, 2017) • ‘A utopia (becoming reality) of unlimited exploitation’ (Bordieu, 1998)
  6. 6. Financialisation and the right to housing
  7. 7. Cities and financialisation O Cities are at the epicentre of financial property speculation O “a consequence of London’s new prime city status — and this is true of all these cities — is that the property market becomes increasingly hostile to its own ordinary citizens. O “There isn’t a global city I’ve come across where unaffordability isn’t coming up in some shape or form” O Financial Times, March, 2018
  8. 8. 1. Housing shock in Ireland - the end of the Irish homeownership dream • Dramatic structural change in Irish housing system - decline in home ownership & rise in private rental • Increase in households in private rental: 2006 (145,317) 2011 (305,377) 2016 (342,222) • Geography: Dublin 25% private rental, 59% home ownership in urban areas • Generation rent: a majority of households aged 35 and under are now renting their home. Back in 1991, a majority of households over the age of 26 were renting their home. • Social class: home ownership rate above 60% of median income - 72.7% for those below 60% of median home ownership rate of 47.6% “The incomes of many households are such that aspiration to home ownership in the communities in which they came from and work is unlikely to be realisable: this is despite the fact that in the recent past households in similar relative economic positions may well have bought houses in those communities” (Rebuilding Ireland, 2016)
  9. 9. GEO/TIME 2007 2014 Change Ireland 78.1 68.6 -9.5 United Kingdom 73.3 64.4 -8.9 Iceland 86.4 78.2 -8.2 Estonia 86.8 81.5 -5.1 Latvia 86.0 80.9 -5.1 Slovenia 81.3 76.7 -4.6 Euro area (19 countries)71.4 66.9 -4.5 Denmark 67.1 63.3 -3.8 Bulgaria 87.6 84.3 -3.3 Luxembourg 74.5 72.5 -2 Austria 59.2 57.2 -2 Spain 80.6 78.8 -1.8 Greece 75.6 74.0 -1.6 Cyprus 74.1 72.9 -1.2 Belgium 72.9 72.0 -0.9 Finland 73.6 73.2 -0.4 Hungary 88.5 88.2 -0.3 Sweden 69.5 69.3 -0.2 Italy 73.2 73.1 -0.1 Malta 79.8 80.0 0.2 Netherlands 66.6 67.0 0.4 Lithuania 89.4 89.9 0.5 Portugal 74.2 74.9 0.7 Romania 95.5 96.2 0.7 European countries that followed neoliberal home ownership ‘ideal’ & marketisation – UK & Ireland experience largest drop in home ownership Source: Eurostat
  10. 10. Why does increase in private rental sector matter? Isn’t a move to European rental model a positive thing? • It would be if we had European tenant protections, affordability and quality • Private rental sector in Ireland does not provide a secure affordable home • Increase in households in private rental = increase in households exposed to insecurity of tenure & economic eviction (largest factor in rise in homelessness) • Houses lower income households – more affected by rising rents (impact on poverty and inequality) • Generational inequality – precarious low paid work –restricted to precarious housing
  11. 11. Roots of the current housing crisis - Marketisation in social housing provision 1980s – present: Neoliberal shift in housing policy from state to market as primary provider of (social) housing •Anti-social housing bias Result: Long term increase in housing Need: Number of households on social housing waiting lists 1996, 28,000 2005 42,000 2013 90,000 Extract from Rebuilding Ireland (2016)
  12. 12. Austerity –cumulative social housing deficit O Department of Environment suffered the second highest proportionate budget reductions of any Department between 2008 and 2012 O reflecting neoliberal marketisation - anti local authority/state build social housing bias O Result = cumulative deficit of almost 35,000 social houses that would have been built if different decisions taken O Austerity worked? No. Austerity related retrenchment in social housing a significant causal factor of current homelessness crisis Source: Hearne, 2017
  13. 13. Rebuilding Ireland - deepening and enshrining marketisation and privatisation of social housing = flawed approach • Just 15% of the 134,000 ‘new’ social housing outlined in Rebuilding Ireland are new builds by Local Authorities and Housing Associations -85% is private market provided
  14. 14. Rebuilding Ireland PR spin disguises the dismantling of social housing - from homes to marketised temporary ‘solutions’ O So how many of the above are actually new build social housing? (vital because in a supply crisis –actual new affordable build is the core solution, there is 35,000 social housing austerity deficit, & HAP is not secure housing )
  15. 15. The reality of low level of new build social housing in Rebuilding Ireland The new build figures actually includes outputs under LA and AHB Build programmes, Regeneration, Voids and Part V OSo 7000 ‘new’ social housing stock is in fact… OVoids 1,757 OAcquisition 2266 OLease 798 OPart V 388 OAHB build 799 O1,058 local authority build OSo just 7% of ‘social housing solutions’ in 2017 are actual new social house building (1,857) OSo 2017 social housing build numbers are just over half the Rebuilding Ireland target of 3,200 new build OCurrently just 3,900 social housing under construction (at two years – leaves us no where near requirements) OSo the state is not engaged in the largest social housing building programme on record– its smoke and mirrors – hugely reliant on the private sector – worsening the housing crisis
  16. 16. Marketisation of social housing through the Housing Assistance Payment OParticipative research into homeless families’ experience of HAP & Hubs OWe found that homeless families are structurally excluded from the private rental market as they are at the bottom of the queue in a highly competitive housing market, and vulnerable to class, gender, ethic or family status based discrimination. OA compounding of their trauma associated with homelessness. OTheir right to access secure housing is also denied as HAP does not offer effective security of tenure, resulting in an on-going fear and sense of insecurity as they are denied an ontologically secure base of a permanent, or ‘forever’ home. OThis is has a particular re-traumatising impact on homeless families who have already lost that secure base before. OThis raises a fundamental problem with HAP which is that it is a temporary and insecure form of housing. OFamilies are not ‘gaming the system’ but are making choices based on achieving security of tenure – gendered moral rationality –as lone parent mothers prioritising their children’s needs and support networks. Hugely difficult decision of trading off waiting in emergency accommodation for a secure home or re-entering private rental sector, years of insecurity and future potential homelessness –policy ignoring this
  17. 17. New Inequalities – How HAP undermines the right to housing O HAP fails to provide a security of tenure - a quarter of the 1,800 exits from HAP – have been because landlords issuing notice to quit –selling up – another major crisis - when landlords exit HAP after 1,2 year lease –families trying to find housing again crisis –further homelessness O Re-Invest research suggest that HAP should not be considered a ‘social housing solution’ or designated as social housing but another temporary form of housing income support O Social housing reconstituted as a temporary ‘support’. Consistent with other neoliberal policies access and entitlement is restricted. O Placing responsibility of the homeless crisis onto the families –to find accommodation – exacerbates their feelings of social exclusion, shame and failure O HAP tenants are removed from social housing waiting lists. The 2016 housing waiting list of 92,000 households would increase to 128,000 with the inclusion of RAS and HAP recipients. Thus HAP has a political use, masking the real scale of the housing crisis.
  18. 18.  Attempt to ‘normalise’ and legitimise Family Hubs  In contrast to government and policy maker’s portrayal of new forms of emergency accommodation, Family Hubs, as positive improvements on hotels our research co-constructed new understandings of damaging experience of ‘therapeutic incarceration’ (emerged through participation – directed by families)  Rules to maintain child protection impact on parental autonomy, family functioning and parental mental health  Gender perspective from lone parent mothers on negative impacts on the children in hubs  These are consistent with findings on emergency homeless accommodation in the wider literature  June 2017 – creation of 19 ‘Family Hubs’ – to housing 528 families - 254 families, 371 family units in commercial hotels being reclassified as Family Hubs, expansion to Kildare, Limerick, Carlow  New gender inequality in housing – majority of homeless families headed by lone parent mothers Family Hubs are not homes but emergency homeless accommodation
  19. 19. HAP poor value for money as long-term social investment Financing of a direct build social housing unit in Dublin through state borrowing would cost approximately €800 per month (Reynolds, 2017) vs monthly payment for a HAP unit in Dublin is €1,244 = HAP unit in Dublin is €5,328 more expensive p.a. than a new state build unit Over a thirty year period this equates to a HAP unit being €159,840 more expensive. And… ….if private market rents increase (as they have done in recent years), then the cost of HAP necessarily has to increase in time. And…No state asset left at end of HAP - landlord gets value of asset wealth accumulation ….at the end of 30 yr, the private landlord has accumulated an asset via HAP state payments Vs in direct social housing state has the asset (for further social housing, where the state gets income in rent, and it can be used as for borrowing for investment in social housing) Rebuilding Ireland - 120,000 households in private rental sector state subsidies by 2021= €1bn p.a to private landlords. If direct building by local authorities and housing associations = 55,000 social housing units over 10 year period and 165,000 units over 30 year period.
  20. 20. • Advertisements were placed in the media early in February 2015 seeking participants to a technical dialogue to explore options for developing some large Council owned lands • “Responses indicated that the market in Dublin is interested in working with the Council to develop some of its land for a mix of housing types and tenures” but… • “It is nervous about becoming involved in mixed tenure private rental and below cost rental unless there is a safety net of guaranteed lease funding in the event of a shortfall in rental income to repay Return on Capital Employed to investors” • Developers and investors over influence on how and when public land developed • 2018: Land still lying idle in midst of crisis while state engages in market speculation – example of financialisation – relying on speculative investors interest Financialisation and privatisation of public land through new and expanded PPP projects Just 30% social housing!
  21. 21. Illogical and unethical approach - allowing public land lie idle in midst of a housing and homelessness crisis O “A major part of the new approach to housing provision” in the Rebuilding Ireland plan is proposed “mixed-tenure housing development on State lands, including local authority lands”. O The plan is “actively targeting State sites in prime residential locations and investing in infrastructure and State-supported housing”. O objective to identify and release to the market a tranche of lands (from the ownership of other public bodies) capable of yielding up to 3,000 new homes in the first phase, with sites being made available (to developers) at costs that can deliver homes that ordinary people can buy or rent” (Department of Housing, 2016, 12). O Based on the Dublin City Council ‘Housing Lands Initiative’ and, “the development of Social Housing Public Private Partnership (PPP) bundles” O So refusing to develop housing on public land – taking marketisation and financialisation approach – repeating failed PPPs O Because of idea of ‘failed’ public housing estates and refusal to invest in building social housing O But public estates did not ‘fail’ – became residualised and segregated –nothing inevitable about state building housing being ghettos O Rebuilding Ireland takes that policy and makes it cornerstone
  22. 22. Enhanced Long Term Social Housing Leasing Scheme – another example of marketisation & financialisation of social housing O The owner will be paid up to 95% of the market rate - as opposed to 80% (85% for apartments) under the existing lease agreements O CSO/Eurostat requirement that lease cannot include an option to renew at the outset or asset reversion at the end - NO ASSET!!! O Under the enhanced lease arrangement, the owner is responsible for both structural maintenance and day to day repairs O Resulting from social housing consultation with big capital and finance O Of the 50,000 social housing homes to be delivered under Rebuilding Ireland, 10,000 are targeted to be leased by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) under leasing arrangements O under the Department’s Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP).  O A number of key differences between the existing long term lease and the enhanced lease, the purpose of which is to facilitate larger levels of private investment in social housing while ensuring that the capital investment is off balance sheet in respect of Government expenditure.
  23. 23. Impacts of marketisation and financialisation of social housing –worsening the crisis  Rebuilding Ireland acknowledges that securing the social housing output is “dependent on a number of critical factors” including, most importantly, “A functioning private residential construction sector, with levels of supply to meet demand (delivering 10% social housing units under Part V and providing a supply for targeted acquisitions)  Strategy reliant on supply from a housing system & private rental sector in state of huge under supply – adds demand and reduces private rental supply , increasing rents and prices- does not increase supply of permanent social housing homes - a third of all private tenancies are state funded social housing schemes  Thus market strategy of social housing amplifies crisis within wider housing market  Rebuilding Ireland social housing strategy effectively hands the private sector a monopoly of housing provision – with all the attendant risks  Importantly making social housing delivery reliance on private sector both global and domestic investors that is affected by market instability  No lessons learned from mistakes of the (recent) past….  “reliance on the private sector and the market to guarantee the provision of these key public infrastructure projects was a short-sighted policy and a naïve gamble that ignored, firstly, the reality that markets are inherently cyclical and unstable, and, secondly, that the primary goal and interest of the private sector, in this case developers and their financiers, are providing profitable returns to shareholders with investors not being responsible for guaranteeing social outcomes. (Hearne, 2011)
  24. 24. Roots of the crisis 2. Irish government strategy of (re-)financialisation to enable banking and economic ‘recovery’ O Housing crisis the ‘collateral damage’ for saving the banks – a price worth paying? O Financialisation 1. bringing in vultures and global investors to purchase distressed loans and assets off banks and NAMA O Financialisation 2. Support rental and house price inflation as political and economic strategy for attracting investors to achieve 1. & post 2013 2. increase supply of ‘buy-to-rent’ & social housing– in reflection of Ireland’s changed housing system – O The attraction of the ‘Wall’ of private equity and vulture funds to buy up toxic loans and assets –strategy follows Irish state development model – attract foreign investment with tax ‘incentives’ (avoidance/haven mechanisms) O Shift toward international investment- REIT exempt from corporation tax in 2013 in order to “facilitate the attraction of foreign investment capital to the Irish property market” (Noonan, 2013) O Result: major increase in commodification of housing (see investor figures below) and deepening crisis of housing unaffordability: Evictions from BTL in arrears, vulture funds purchasing mortgages in arrears – tsunami of reposessions (14,000), Real Estate Investment Trusts now Ireland’s largest landlord –setting unaffordable rents and supplying unaffordable housing O Land hoarding - waiting for (and contributing to) house prices to rise e.g. NAMA sold development land (sites) to investors that had the potential for up to 20,000 housing units but just 1,100 (5%) of these have been built or are under construction.
  25. 25. NAMA playing key role in financialisation & worsening crisis O “By pushing for maximum commercial returns, Nama is working against the interests of those looking for an affordable and secure home. It is continuing the speculative-asset approach to housing that fuelled the crisis. This promotes residential property as a commodity rather than a social good” (Hearne, 2014, writing in the Irish Times) O “to increase significantly the flow of assets to the market to tap into the increased international – and increasingly domestic – investor interest in Irish real estate” (NAMA, 2014) O Land hoarding - waiting for (and contributing to) house prices to rise e.g. NAMA sold development land (sites) to investors that had the potential for up to 20,000 housing units but just 1,100 (5%) of these have been built or are under construction O NAMA building 20000 ‘starter’ homes (Noonan). So how ‘starter’ are these? O NAMA (via its receivers Deloitte) is arguing for a reduction in social housing being built on state land in the midst of a housing emergency. Glass Bottle site receivers appeal Poolbeg social housing plans
  26. 26. Increase in investors buying homes O In 2010 First-Time buyers bought 12,000, or 42% of homes for sale, while investors (named in the graph as Household Buyer- non-occupier and Non-Household Buyer) bought half that number, just 6,254, or 21% of homes for sale. O Show that from 2013 onwards there was a significant increase in the purchase of housing in Ireland as an investment O But by 2017, the proportion of First time buyers had fallen substantially as they bought just 21% of all homes for sale, while investors now bought almost twice the amount of first time buyers and increased their proportion – now buying a third of all homes (33%, 20,000 properties) for sale. • In the first quarter of 2017 investor purchases have amounted to 38% of all buyers. • These purchases add a significant demand for housing and thus are inflating house prices and making them less affordable for those seeking housing as a home – but also removing them as potential homes and renting out at more expensive inflated rents
  27. 27. New Inequalities in Irish Housing Adapted from Drudy & Punch, 2005 Winners Losers Speculators and investors Developers and Land owners Financiers (e.g. banks, building societies) New form of ‘Property-Finance industrial complex’ vulture funds, REITs, global investors Landlords (increase in state reliance for social housing - €730 million state subsidy – a third of all tenancies) Home owners (although reduced in proportion – In 1991 81% homeownership - collapsed to 67% - concentrating wealth) Estate agents Solicitors Newspaper Property Supplements Homeless Tenants First-time aspirant buyers Home-owners in mortgage arrears Overcrowding Substandard local authority housing estates Low income/temporary employed Domestic violence victims Travellers & other ethnic minorities Those with disabilities Students (lack of accommodation – rising rents) Dublin & commuter belt Building workers -Housing as source of unequal working conditions • Inequality of power as finance interests exert influence over governments– undermining of democracy by over influence of global investors over housing systems and housing policy • Housing system reflecting, reproducing and creating wider societal inequality - who is profiting from Irish housing crisis? Top 1 per cent in Ireland owns 33 per cent of the country’s wealth and that 90 per cent of the country’s wealth is held in land and property • Precarious lives: ink between precarious and low paid work & precarious housing situation – younger, lower income, migrant –paying highest housing burden in rent - returning as wealth accumulation to already wealthy • (Global and Irish) wealthy ‘rentier class’ and vultures increase their wealth exponentially from the poor, young and low and middle income workers, firstly in the labour market through lower wages and precarious work, secondly, in the sphere of ‘social reproduction’, through higher rents and mortgages, and thirdly from the state in the form of lower taxes and higher subsidies
  28. 28. Government policy based on a flawed market approach to housing ‘supply and demand’ OA) Incentives (reduce apartment size, planning, invest in infrastructure, offer development finance) and ‘demand-led’ policies (Help-to- buy’, mortgages etc) will increase the ‘buying power’ of buyers and profitability of house building for private finance and developers and thus increase housing ‘supply’ OTo resuscitate the residential construction sector, we have streamlined planning, provided funding of €200 million in the infrastructure fund and delivered new apartment guidelines, and we are setting up Home Building Finance Ireland (Minister for State, 2018) O“What we are trying to do is to ensure that the viability of residential investment is significantly improved... The sites are there but for a whole series of reasons, some of them are not being moved on. …we are starting to see an appetite for risk and investment in residential property in Dublin... We have seen extraordinary increases in rent for residential properties which has changed that appetite. …We need to make sure the incentive remains in place to ensure that money is investing significantly in residential property” (Coveney, 2017). OYes it is a supply crisis – but ignores A) increase supply doesn’t reduce house prices B) incentives don’t necessarily produce houses e.g. land hoarding by vultures C) increased supply doesn’t provide ‘affordable’ supply (filtering, as with ‘trickle down’ economics doesn’t work) OAlso financialised approach results in reluctance to do things that deter investment e.g. tenant protections from eviction! O OKey issue is providing affordable supply and only guarantee is increasing non-market (state & not-for-profit) housing provision private market will not provide affordable rental or sale
  29. 29. Alternative policies to provide affordable and secure homes in well planned communities 1. A new semi-state, not-for-profit, Irish Affordable Homes Company (think big like the ESB rolling out electricity) build up to thirty thousand affordable homes for mix of incomes - ‘cost rental’ houses, HAP cover low income, homes for ownership. for mix of household incomes (well designed, planned with facilities, space, large apartments, sustainable passive design). Set out plan for integrating across local state land rather than PPP piecemeal 2. Majority of housing on state owned land should be social, affordable rent and co-operative purchase. Sale back to LA or housing company not on private market to avoid speculative investment (40/40/20) 3. Increase capital funding for local authority and Approved Housing Bodies (AHB)- additional capital spending of €1bn in 2018 –rapid housing programme to house homeless 4. Right to housing in legislation and constitution 5. Stop vultures - expansion of mortgage to rent scheme – housing coop and housing associations 6. Prevent homelessness and enable private renters have a secure home - strengthen tenant security again eviction - - change legislation on evictions/sale/family use & rent caps maintained & extended 7. Family Hub Emergency Accommodation - Design model should respect dignity - danger of long term institutional embeddedness – legislative Sunset clause 2019
  30. 30. The politics of housing and solidarity OTo get alternative policies implemented requires a counter power of civil society and public to force state and government to change direction as government ‘captured’ by market ideology and vested property, investor and wealthy interests –who do NOT want increase in affordable housing or land supply OThis is a battle over the soul of Irish housing – a defining period OActive undermining of society-wide solidarity on the issue by government and state agencies blaming the victims like the homeless and those in mortgage arrears – exacerbates feelings of stigma and shame and therefore silence A process of cross society solidarity construction required OIt’s a political act and strategy – how to win the narrative OVital to challenge normalisation of homelessness and housing crisis & victim blaming – educate and inform on real causes of crisis OMany of those affected – from private rental tenants to those on housing waiting lists to aspirant home owners – have not been convinced of or aware of alternatives and campaigns ODominance of home ownership aspiration – public/social housing not seen as relevant – positive narrative of rising house vs children not being able to afford housing OConstructing and empowering solidarity (and charity) –people can change the system - mobilisation, organisation OCommunication - Using language and ideas that connect with and convince workers, generation rent, aspiration home owners OHow a greater provision of affordable rental/purchase/social housing benefits all groups OPolitically government weak on housing - and international reputation matters – why national movement/protest in a potentially powerful position at the moment OLocal and national elections •The lack of connections between the various groups affected by crisis and failure to show a common cause and solutions •Crisis likely to worsen further –still time for movements and citizens to shape outcome- the crisis is developing – evolving, widening – bringing in new groups = new potential allies and alliances •Eurobarometer poll (2017) - housing is the most important issue facing the country (57% of respondents cited it as the most important issue vs 2013 just 4%)
  31. 31. Conclusion: understand housing’s fundamental role in economic and social development Housing’s key role as central to people’s fundamental sense of well-being, the requirement of basic need of shelter, as a home to be protected, to raise and nurture individuals and family with dignity, as a place for quality living within a wider community and its role in providing sustainable development have been undermined and replaced by its treatment under neoliberalism as a financialised asset which places its primary value as its use as commodity exchange for investors. This approach housing will continue to have profound implications for the coming decades – not just in terms of the failure to meet basic housing need of our populations – but wider societal inequality and cohesion, economic development, environmental sustainability and consequently politics. It appears that to fundamentally change Irish housing policy requires putting the right to housing in the Irish Constitution Article 11 of ICESCR provides for right to housing: “adequate housing” must be affordable, habitable, accessible, include security of tenure, availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure. Its location must allow access to employment, health care, schools, child care centres and other social facilities (United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 1991)

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