The Meeting and Discussion
Last Thursday night a Cork Chapter 11 meeting was held at our offices and in attendance was the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government; Simon Coveney. The minister was present to discuss the current housing situation and possible solutions. The housing crisis has been one of the most pressing issues of recent times. The shortage of available housing has led to huge increases in the cost of renting and buying homes. With the average cost of renting or buying now above the Celtic Tiger rates. Making it very difficult for many people to secure a home. The housing crisis's impact can be felt throughout Cork City and its surrounding areas.
Credit Union Potential Role
He discussed the involvement of Credit Unions in providing Social Housing Funding and how it would be achieved. A proposal has been compiled by the Irish League of Credit Unions on the funding social housing. Credit Unions are self-help co-operative financial organisations that are geared towards attaining economic and social goals for members and the wider community. This proposal is a method to use the collective funding base in a productive and meaningful way. It's a way of addressing a key social issue that is affecting communities across the country. The idea is very closely aligned to the core values of the Credit Union movement; economic democracy, inclusiveness, human and social development and community focus.
The Government's Housing Strategy
Minister Coveney also discussed the Governments strategy to dealing with the housing crisis. The vision of the government's strategy included in the Housing Policy is as follows;
"Every household should have access to secure, good quality housing suited to their needs at an affordable price in a sustainable community, that is the Government’s vision for the people of Ireland."
This vision as said above aligns with the strong community ethos of the Credit Union movement. The Government would maintain complete control over social housing but Credit Unions would become the leading funders. There are a number of wider benefits for the economy through the initiation of Social Housing Projects. These would include more employment opportunities created, generation of taxes and stimulus to the construction sector.
The most importnt factor is that a sustainable supply of social housing opportunities for those who need them would be created.