LibVan - Housing Matters


The Island's housing crisis affects most, if not all, sections of our community. There are those seeking their first home to buy, who find themselves priced out of the market, can't obtain a mortgage, and find the criteria for the government's first time buyers' scheme too restrictive. Others have similar problems as they seek to buy, following breakdowns in relationships.

Those seeking to rent don't find it easy either. Private rental costs are rocketing and there is nowhere near enough social housing available. There is a hidden homelessness problem as a result, with many people sofa surfing and children continuing or returning to live with their parents into their 30s, or older.

Charities like Housing Matters - and Graih - provide what help they can and deserve our support. However, action by the Island's Department of Infrastructure and local authorities is urgently needed to rectify the shortfall in affordable and suitable housing.

Poor housing, or lack of a home creates many health problems for people. Respiratory ailments are caused by living in damp conditions. Mental health issues resulting from trying to bring up families in unsuitable accommodation, not being able to find a place of your own, or coping with adult children still living at home, with all the tensions that brings. We also have an aging population, with a growing need for more sheltered housing, care homes and specialist care and facilities to help elderly folk continue to live in their own homes.

Climate Change mitigation is also requiring us to improve insulation in our housing stock and change from fossil fuel heating systems over the next decade or two. This must be made affordable for all, both in terms of installation, but also with regard to future fuel bills.

Since the last election, the government has created a new Housing & Community Board, chaired by Chris Thomas, MHK. Chris has been invited by Liberal Vannin to outline his remit and lead a discussion on the Island's future housing strategy at a meeting next Monday, January 17th at 19.45, at the Manx Legion, Douglas. Come along and make your views heard.

Paul, Weatherall, Chair, Liberal Vannin