Today, 03/07/15, An Spréach and the Irish Housing Network held a successful occupation and eviction resistance when they liberated an unused hostel on Bolton Street in Dublin City Centre.
Earlier in the day around 60 protesters had marched from the GPO to the hostel to support the family who had been housed there by the housing action groups.
Four police cars arrived on the scene with 16 Gardaí and attempted to arrest some of the protesters but soon left without making any arrests.
Today a major victory for housing activists in Ireland was won. We succeed in doing what the state and DCC have refused to do when asked, that is, to open up some of 300,000 empty homes lying around the country, one that had been lying empty fo over 3 years, to house families in need.
An Spréach remains committed to securing homes for people in need and call on other likeminded individuals to join us in our campaign to help liberate some of the thousands of vacant homes around the country for the families who need them.
A special thank you to the people who joined us today, your continued support is greatly appreciated!
STATEMENT: Housing is a right’ are empty words in this society. We have reclaimed an abandoned homeless hostel, which Dublin City Council has left to rot for 3 years, in order to house families in need of emergency accomodation – its rightful purpose.
In a world of plenty, poverty is a crime. There are over 302,000 empty housing units in the south of Ireland, yet there are 5,000 people sleeping rough, a numerous amount of hidden homeless, and over 90,000 on the social housing waiting list. This is the absurd and cruel mathematics of capitalism.
Empty homes and homeless people – it’s not rocket science. Decent housing for all is very possible. But the state and capitalist class have proven their implaccable devotion to profit above all else. So, as it is the right of the needy to take what would naturally be theirs in a sane society, it is the duty of all conscientious people to help bridge this gap. Squatting is a short-term solution to a crisis which will always exist under this irrational economic system.
We will be accused of being thieves for obstructing a robbery. Private property is the greatest theft of all – making paupers despite prosperity, burglarising our futures, dreams, potentials, putting us at the service of a gilded elite which hoards without relent. Homelessness is theft. And what’s more, does this Council building not belong to the people? Have we not paid for it? Well, the people need homes without delay.
This is an example of people empowering themselves to combat the housing crisis – a non-party political project undertaken in people’s spare time with what little resources we had. Something the state could easily have done with its vast means, were it not too busy devising schemes for property developers to cash-in on our misery.
Indeed only ‘ordinary’ people banding together and taking direct action can make a better world, and only when we move past this antiquated social system will we be free. Until then, until a society where each person gives according to their ability, and receives according to need, we say: rob the robbers! Take what you need now!
Our demands are for nothing less than decent housing for all and an end to the dictatorship of the market. Here is the minimum of what we could do in the meantime:
1. No evictions. Families and individuals in their primary residences, be they social, private rental, or owned property, should not face eviction (unless excessive/extravagant, e.g. a mansion).
Housing based on Need
2. All housing should be of a quality and affordability so that all can access it and live with dignity and decency.
3. Housing provision should shift away from the market towards state, social, community, and non-market based provision.
4. Social Housing Should be built immediately to accommodate need.
5. Vacant property should be turned over based on need.
6. NAMA properties should be immediate turned over to provide homes and community and public spaces and facilities.
7. Tenants’ Protection. Rent Controls should immediately be implemented.
8. Tenants’ Protection. Tenants should have security of tenancy, no probation, and secure and quality conditions as right.
9. Tenants’ Protection. Landlords should not be able to reject rent allowance, housing assistant payment or any other rent support.
10. Tenants’ Protection. A Tenants’ Union should not only be recognised but actively encouraged as a means of protecting and organising tenants.
11. Squatting Rights. That there is a right to reclaim spaces for housing and community use when they have been empty for 6 months.
12. Squatting Rights. When reclaimed homes and spaces have been put to use for 3 years they should owned by those who have lived and worked them.
13. Homelessness. Homeless support funding should be increased and homeless support services should be an immediate right not an emergency last hope
14. Homelessness. Homelessness support service should exist based on the needs of local areas and communities and not be centralised in large urban centres.
Housing as part of the Community
15. Homes exist in a community. Therefore the provision of housing must be met with adequate and accessible community resources, education and health, community facilities and spaces to live and enjoy recreation time. The needs of families and children should be particularly met along with those most vulnerable in society.