The Growing Monster of Homelessness.

With so much happening in the past few years with crisis after crisis it seemed convenient to ignore the quietly growing monster that is homelessness.

We are looking into a crisis in terms of homelessness – each day Dublin City Council is spending thousands to put families into hotels and B&B’s. Recent news stories of families living in their cars shows that even this isn’t enough anymore, more has to be done. Equally many people become trapped in a cycle of emergency accommodation, not able to move on and get a stable life back.

Behind this is a deeper crisis in terms of housing. We need more social and affordable housing in Dublin, this is good for those who cannot afford housing but also helps prevent runaway rent prices for everyone by releasing the pressure of demand. Due to this unreleased pressure that exists at the minute we face spiralling rents which alongside cuts to rent supplement have made it almost impossible for many families to get anywhere to rent, and has increased the financial burden on those who are currently renting.

The spiralling prices in south Dublin look like another bubble, we need to learn the lessons of the Celtic tiger years and we need a comprehensive national housing policy for the first time. Housing is a basic necessity and should be treated as that, not as a commodity to be exploited.

I have worked on the ground with homeless services for adult and children, I have worked in vulnerable communities. I want to do more for these people and believe we need to address both our crisis of homelessness and our deeper housing problems.
The latest policy framework adopts a “Housing First” approach, where regardless of circumstances a house is provided and supports to keep you in the house and address any personal difficulties are put in place. While this system has been shown to work well in other countries it relies on having a supply of houses and homes to put people in. In my dealings for work with officials I have been told that the waiting time in Dublin City Council is 10 years, while Dun Laoghire Rathdown has a waiting time of 14 years. This is simply not good enough. A “Housing First” approach will fail without houses.

Transparency and Accountability in Poolbeg

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I am struck by the feeling that no one is in charge when it comes to the incinerator.

At a recent Public Accounts Committee meeting City Manager Owen Keegan stated he didn’t know if the incinerator would be built or not. Given that it is up to him and his officials this seems a crazy statement and shows the problems with the lack of transparency and accountability in this project. Continue reading

New Election Area – New Candidate!

Dear neighbours,

I want to introduce myself to you as the new Green Party representative for our area and the new electoral ward of Rathmines/Rathgar. I will be using this website as a place to keep you updated about my work and my campaign…but before all that I felt that as a new candidate it was important for me to introduce myself and to tell you a bit about me and why I am running.

I was educated at Gonzaga, UCD, and Trinity, and grew up in our area, where I continue to live and work.

A decade working with vulnerable communities, most recently as a Child Protection Social Worker, has given me hands on experience of the tough circumstances affecting families across our locality at present. Ten years of volunteering as a Scout Leader at Leeson Park Scout Group have shown me that it takes involvement to build a community and hard work to make things better. It is now time to contribute more. I want to focus on our communities and the people who live in them.

I do not come from a political background. No one in my family has ever been involved in politics. I have decided to run now because I believe in these three things:

1. Smart planning of services and public facilities can improve our quality of life and strengthen our community.

2. Local businesses should be better supported by the Local Council.

3. Transparency and sustainable growth are needed more than ever as our city responds to changing times.

Over the coming months I will be visiting every home in our area and I hope to meet you in person. In the meantime please contact me directly and let me know whether you share these objectives and if you would be interested in working with me to make them happen.

patrick@patrickcostello.ie

@costellop

Patrick Costello