Small-c government (or neo-liberal government, if you like) is a public entity that is infatuated with private enterprise. That goes particularly for the provision of truly affordable housing, for which there is a desperate need in a great many countries.
Among the the myriad of ways that public and private can get intimate around housing, just which is on top, and which is on bottom? In Ireland, apparently, it doesn’t matter. The participants can try it every which way. It’s all good, at least on paper before the schmoozing starts.
Ireland has evolved a housing scheme in which public and private entities are more or less kinda top, then bottom, in an elaborate, intertwined wrestling match.
The target: vacant housing sitting idle.
The plan: to use it for social housing.
First the government, on top, evaluates suitable partners, and provides refurbishing grants to the lucky blushing brides. Then positions are reversed, and the coy fixer-upper moves top to become a lusty landlord, renting the home to a shy, giggling government. That government, reverting to top once more and in an act of state sanctioned promiscuity, links a third party into the daisy chain in the form of a low or no-income citizen who, needless to say, will likely be long practiced at being on the bottom.
So how is it all working out so far? With at least 3,500 vacant homes available to this scheme of public/private intimate gymnastics, 185 homes have gone the full monty and beyond.
Conclusion: there seems to be absolutely no end to the clever ways in which public can climb into bed with private, and after all the hanky panky, not get the job done.
Read more in the Irish Examiner: Just 185 out of 3,500 vacant homes converted into social housing