Hopeless

in #dublin8 months ago


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Mural at Smithfield Dublin

You can’t walk around Dublin city and fail to notice the ever-increasing number of people living in tents.

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memorial to a rough-sleeper who died of hypothermia in this doorway steps from the Irish parliament building

Cranes fill the skyline but it’s hotels and not houses being squeezed into every nook and cranny, certain of full occupancy as the state spends millions renting hotel rooms to house homeless families.

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Private hotel operators were paid €49.3 million for providing accommodation for homeless people in 2018. A further €13.8 million was spent on other emergency accommodation. Dublin City Council is budgeting to spend €154.42m on homeless services this year.

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After the 2008 financial crash housebuilding more or less came to a halt in Ireland and years of sluggish construction rates have led to a woeful lack of housing stock, whether social or private, to buy or to rent. Private housing development is being disincentivised by punitive taxes and planning regulations putting further stress on the rental market. Add to that the vast property portfolios sold to multinational private equity firms at knock-down prices, which they renovated and then rented at double the rate, and you get prices spiralling, sending people flooding onto social housing lists.

There are 16,500 households currently on Dublin’s social housing waiting list and last year the local authorities built only 74 social houses and bought another 63 turnkey properties from a private developer.

The United Nations has reprimanded Ireland for facilitating multinational vulture funds to buy up swathes of properties and then rent them out at exorbitant rates. It condemned the "egregious" business practices of private investment companies accusing them of the "financialisation of housing" through preferential tax laws and ineffective tenant protections, adding that in relation to the rental market, “in Dublin……… a person with an average salary renting the average property now has to allocate 86.3% of their income on rent” The average rent in the city at the moment is €2,044.

The local authorities, as well as housing activists, point the finger at Airbnb with around 3,000 properties listed in Dublin. A stock line among demonstrators is in 21st-century Dublin homeless families stay in hotels, and tourists stay in homes. Airbnb was banned in July and an anti-Airbnb task force set up costing €750,000. No mention of the 30,000 properties estimated to be lying empty in the greater Dublin area, many of which are owned by the local council.

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Shame on you. This could be a home.
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Poster on one of the many boarded up properties around the city


Homelessness is a huge business for a lot of people. Hoteliers receive millions of euros to put up homeless families; landlords benefit from endlessly increasing rents. And when you consider that one in every five TDs (Irish members of parliament) is a landlord, you can see why there might be little political will to change the status quo.

All photos are my own, taken in Dublin in the last few months.

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A sad truth about what happens whenever government is involved. They only care about themselves and "show me the money!"

And though we know this, we keep playing their little voting game. Definition of insanity or what?

So sad. We have so many homeless here as well - the only difference- nobody puts them into a hotel. Jail maybe. It is a shame and going on all over the world!

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We've always had a few homeless people, usually a result of an addiction or mental issue, not the lack of housing. It seems the more government interference and regulation, the worse things get.

The world is full of vultures. What a giant corruption!

You're right! I'm sure it's the same everywhere. If only we could rid ourselves of our addiction to government and cease voting for these criminals who lie, cheat and steal from us.

Politicians are a bad plague that have plunged the world into extreme poverty and hopelessness.

Interesting, I think of this as more of a US thing, where homelessness is becoming a larger and larger problem yearly and the local government reaction is usually to basically enact war on the homeless with a series of laws designed to kick them out of city centers without actually doing anything to help them. Sad to hear it is an issue over there as well

It seems it's the same everywhere, or getting there at least. I think there are very few issues which cannot be exacerbated by government interference.

Unconscionable, and heartbreaking.

When I was a child, we fell on hard times. I shudder to think what would have happened to us if family hadn't pitched in. There was always that safety net...not a nice feeling, but we were safe.

These are hard pictures to see.

Same here. I swore then I'd always have a decent place to rest my head once I reached adulthood. Of course, it hasn't always worked out that way. I am my father's daughter, no matter how hard I try to be someone else.

Instead of finger pointing, what about rescinding the punitive taxes and relaxing the zoning restrictions. The free market does what it always does, which is respond to incentives. You can bet bottom euro that new housing stock will begin to be built if artificial restrictions on supply are done away with.

Hear, hear. The government keeps coming up with new help-to-buy schemes, while the most helpful course of action would be to take their greedy hands off.

Or more like their fumbling hands. The free market is the best decentralized decision making system humanity has ever invented. If the goal is to subsidize the poor, stuff like rent controls do a horrible job at that. Just pay the poor directly.

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Dang! What a mess! Greedy suckers, the politicians. What an insane situation. With no relief or solution in sight I suppose.

There are another 5 thousand hotel rooms coming on stream within the next 18 months......plenty of rooms for the homeless. 😂 😂

What a racket and such a strange situation! it's almost incomprehensible!