Monday, August 18, 2008

The Short Sightedness of Social Housing police clearance

Its with some anger that I read this piece in the Times this morning, about delays in getting clearance from the Gardai is causing unnecessary delays in passing keys onto prospective tenants.

The question I have is: where is the sense in demanding police clearance for the most deprived and needy, knowing full well that the likelihood of them having a criminal record (in many cases potentially for quite minor offences) is far above the typical owner occupier.

What makes me angry, however, is what happens to those who don't qualify because of their criminal past?

Yes you guessed it - the cesspit that is the private rented sector - just dump them there sir, sure nobody will care and my second cousin twice removed needs the cash to pay his mortgage on his 10th investment property. Never mind the neighbours, especially those unfortunate enough to be living in apartment blocked or houses broken up into flats. Lets just ignore that little caveat.

The reality is, if we try to socially cleanse deprived areas by denying them housing through the normal social housing fields, they are still pretty much guaranteed housing via rent allowance in the private sector. This is a loophole that HAS to be closed down, as it is simply moving the social dump. In fact many in Limerick argue that those evicted or denied housing because of antisocial behaviour are turning back up on the same street straight away with a private tenancy. This should be closed off, or the original requirement removed. After all, nobody needs a police clearance cert to buy a house or rent one privately, why should they for social housing?


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