Housing is a Human Right march attracts thousands


Saturday 7th April saw 3000 people take to the streets of Dublin for the Housing is a Human Right march. Some 10,000 people are in emergency accommodation, 3700 of them children.  Meanwhile landlords & property speculators pocket a massive portion of the wages of those who are working either via rent or if post 2000 'homeowners' through massive morgage payments.

The demonstration was organised by the National Homeless & Housing Coalition. It succesfully mobilised activists  from many NGOs, political parties and the unions active on housing.  However  the march didn't attract many who were not already organised in one of more of those sectors despite the fact that at minimum a couple of hundred thousand people in Dublin are in some form of housing crisis, most often through paying over 1/3 of their net income in rent or morgage repayments.

This mobilisation was very policy orientated, see its demands below rather than in reaction in a particular outrage or eviction and had been called months in advance.  There had been some controversy around the presence of the Labour Party in the coalition given that the Labour Party in power during the captialist crash ensured the full costs of the property crash and loan defaults were carried by ordinarty workers in Ireland.  This despite the fact that EU banks and property funds poured cash into Ireland because the returns were far higher than in Germany or France, but were then unwilling to pay any of the cost of the risk they created in inflating our property bubble.  

On the day as can be seen in the video the Labour Party bloc was very small, the two far left parties and Sinn Fein each had much larger blocs.  The Labour Party today is something of a zombie party, kept going by its remaining politicans & their families along with those hoping to get elected if it recovers.  But it also still has institutional power through the careers in the unions it obtatined for members over the years which means its hard to avoid Labour inclusion in coalitions that aim to have union involvement despite its recent record.

The demands of the organisers were:
1. The housing and homelessness situation should be declared an
2. An end to economic evictions: No loss of principal residency due to economic distress.
3. Regulation of the private rented sector. Security of tenure and rent certainty. Greater enforcement and inspection. Limit rent rises to a link such as the consumer price index. Public led provision of student accommodation. A charter of housing rights for all renters in the private sector (including students).
4. A local authority led emergency response to the housing crisis
addressing the issue of vacant units, including the use of compulsory purchase orders and the refurbishment of existing units to meet public housing targets.
5. Public policy should aim to increase the output of public housing to an annual rate of 10,000 units per year by late 2018/early 2019 at an estimated cost of €1.8 billion per annum. At least three quarters of these must be provided by local authorities.
6. Additional capital expenditure of €1,150 million in 2018 on top of 2017’s planned €655 million provided from the fiscal space available for 2018 and additional tax measures such as the fast-tracking of the vacant site levy and by borrowing. Greater flexibility as regards the application of EU fiscal rules for investment in public housing.
7. An integrated strategy of well-planned mixed income housing provided by the local authorities on publicly owned land.
8. Redirect the billions spent on subsidising private landlords to the provision of public housing while continuing and improving necessary rent assistance.
9. The development of a cost rental model as a matter of urgency. Adoption and adaption of NERI’s March 2017 proposals for a European cost rental model.
10. Land zoned for housing that is owned by local authorities should be used primarily to provide public housing by local authorities, instead of being made available to private developers.
11. Decent pay and working conditions in the construction sector aiming for the use of unionised and direct labour.
12. Full expenditure of improved funding for Traveller accommodation.
13. Socially inclusive and energy efficient standards for public housing.
14.An end now to emergency provision for families in bed and breakfast accommodation and the provision for them of suitable public housing. Improved and expanded hostel accommodation for homeless people on the street.
15. Steps taken to inscribe the Right to Housing in the constitution.

Video of march

Album of Housing is a Human Right march photos on Facebook