Our second ‘Call to Action!’, drawn from the abundance of important ideas submitted to the Housing Unlocked Open Call, is a call for dedicated housing for key workers. This initiative comes from Angela Tunney, written in a personal capacity.

The Housing Unlocked Team. 

2022 – do you recognise our Republic ?

‘The Republic guarantees…equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally….’

How can we do better with the limited resources of our State?

As a targeted viable contribution towards resolving our housing crises, which could also now accurately be described as a societal crises, this call to action challenges the State Departments of Health, Education and Housing to collaborate in addressing a specific societal need – the provision of KEY WORKER HOUSING.

Lack of affordable accommodation for staff in the Healthcare and Education sectors is having a serious knock on impact on society and further exacerbates inequality. Teachers, childcare workers and healthcare workers, educated by the State are emigrating, not because they cannot get a job in Ireland, but because they have no options for living here that makes the job viable due to lack of affordable accommodation.

The call to action therefore urgently challenges the State to examine all new state funded Health and Education proposals and seek to include, with the financial input from the Department of Housing, an element of key worker housing within these new developments. Unlock the full potential of these sites by ensuring that some suitably designed social and /or affordable key worker housing is included within the envelope of State owned sites for Hospitals, Stepdown Healthcare facilities, Primary Care Centres, Schools and Colleges.

The resultant direct savings would be on site costs, and resultant indirect savings on improved recruitment, stemming emigration of highly educated (by the state ) key workers, and reduction in the need for more expensive long term agency staff to the Health and Education sectors. The quality of entrants to these sectors would remain high, as, with the incentive of access to affordable Key Worker Housing, it would be seen as a viable career path. The addition of key workers would add to the diversity of any host community.

This approach ties in with 4 pathways in our current Housing for All policy

Pathway 1 – Supporting Affordability

Pathway 2 – Increasing Social Housing Delivery and Supporting Social Inclusion

Pathway 3 – Increasing New Housing Supply

Pathway 4 – Efficient use of Existing Stock (ie sites in this case)

Ni neart go cur le ceile – there is strength in unity.

Health Education and Housing can all be stronger through collaboration.

Angela Tunney – 2/09 /2022

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