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Monday, 15th July 2019

Time to increase Local Property Tax to resolve housing crisis – Bell

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Mayor of Drogheda, Councillor Paul Bell.

72 empty council homes unavailable to homeless due to lack of funding for repairs

The Mayor of Drogheda, Councillor Paul Bell, has said that resolving the housing crisis will take a degree of political courage and that he believes it is time to increase Local Property Tax to do so.

“There are 72 Council homes now vacant which cannot be released for allocation due to the unavailability of maintenance funding which is required to bring each home up to standard for issue” he told Drogheda Life.

“Social homes returned to Council are assessed for insulation and energy efficiency measures, electrical safety measures, plumbing which includes heating and fire safety measures” he explained.

“The normal turnaround for these essential works is twelve weeks. But, with no budget available, the majority of these homes will not be issued this year” the Mayor said.

“Resolution of this crisis will take a degree of political courage. In Drogheda we now have in excess of 2,500 applicants on the Council’s housing list. We also have a very serious issue whereby Council is unable to effectively maintain its existing housing stock and is unable to conduct routine and essential works at the request of tenants many of whom are reporting issues concerning home heating and water leaks.

“In order to address the housing crisis we need additional resources and I believe it is time to increase Local Property Tax for the sole purpose of dedicating any increase to Council home maintenance to alleviate the homeless situation in our town.

“I accept that what I am saying may not be overly popular and may cause some discomfort for some elected members. However if we accept that we have a homeless crisis in our town and that lack of dedicated funding is contributing to this situation then we as Councillors are faced with a choice.

“That choice is either to spectate or participate in a position which actively and positively impacts on addressing some of the issues concerning homelessness.

“This is leadership and it is what we are elected to do. Homelessness is not just an issue for those on the housing list, it’s an issue for our town and we must do everything possible to address this crisis and as relying on Government is not a luxury we can afford.”

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