So many 'heartbreaking situations'
A Carlow/Kilkenny TD has described the housing crisis like "Groundhog Day" as people scramble to find affordable properties in Kilkenny.
Sinn Féin's Kathleen Funchion was speaking during a Dáil debate on affordable housing.
She said: "When we come in here and talk about housing, the housing crisis and affordable housing, I feel like it is Groundhog Day.
"I do not know how many stories we must raise of people living in emergency accommodation, whether in bed and breakfast accommodation or hotels, and of people on notice to quit.
"I know several such people scrambling in both Carlow and Kilkenny trying to find a property for themselves and their families. There are 33 properties available to rent in the city and county of Kilkenny and 14 in the whole of County Carlow.
"The average rent is €1,100 in Kilkenny, which is completely out of the reach of ordinary families. So many landlords will not accept tenants on the HAP scheme.
"We have people living in desperate conditions and in substandard accommodation who are completely afraid to speak about it to their landlords or to raise any issues all because they are afraid they will be served notices to quit.
"Much of this comes back to a rent control system. We would not have the level of notices to quit and rent increases if we had rent controls.
"At least they might keep people in some sort of secure accommodation for the next year or two while houses are being built."
Deputy Funchion added that she did not know how many stories and heartbreaking situations "we must outline to the Minister before he actually listens, pays attention and does something".
She added: "I do not accept that enough is being done about it. He says it is not a funding issue and that the money is available. What is the problem then? Why are no houses being built?
"Why are there so many people on notice to quit with absolutely no hope and so many individuals for whom a mortgage is absolutely unthinkable?
"All I can say about this is to stress, as so many other people who come in here do, that it is probably the number one issue with which we deal.
"People are under a great deal of pressure and are really stressed. We have become nearly de-sensitised to it. It is having a huge impact on people's mental health, and that is only the start of the problem.
"In the future we will be dealing with many issues, particularly that relating to children who have spent a year or perhaps two calling a hotel room - a completely unsuitable environment - their home."