Housing Games

Housing Games

This is the long form of a three pieces looking at the current housing crisis as an organised plan by the Irish elite. It will cover, firstly how the housing system developed in Ireland; secondly, what the plan is of the elite and golden circle and, thirdly, why the current plan will not work and what can be done about this

These three pieces have been written by two members of the Irish Housing Network, Aisling Hedderman and Seamus Farrell. It represents their thoughts and not the views of the network as a whole.

 A History of Irish Housing

The history of housing is Ireland has been one of the rich, who build, buy and speculate, and the poor, who are disciplined, marginalised and punished. It has been, and this is often overlooked, a history of conflict.

Pre-independent Ireland had a system of grand land owners in rural Ireland and wealthy owners in the cities and towns, and, under them, a mass of renters and landless labourers.  In the 1880s tenants across Ireland demanded land and homes, and in response the English absentee landlords fought tooth and nail to protect their property interests. After the land wars, land was divided up across Ireland, still a largely farming economy. A choice few gained large plots of lands which were rented back to the poor; many others got plots of land so small that a family could not survive off them alone, they either starved or emigrated.

In the cities the poor were squeezed into tenements. In 1913 these were the worst, most overcrowded and dangerous tenements in Europe. Tenements collapsing, overcrowding, and high rents were combined with low or no wages, making poverty both widespread and insufferable. The greatest resistance to these conditions came from trade unions, and the high point of this battle was the eventually-defeated 1913 lockout, which led to the emergence of both Cumman naBan and the Irish Citizens Army.

After a radical first Dáil, a war of independence and a civil war, housing returned to the same system as before but with a twist. Private property was cemented into the constitution and explicitly seen as both an economic and social value. The aim was not to make everyone an owner, but instead to replace the English landlord with the Irish landlord. Kevin O’Higgins, vice-president of Cumman na nGaedhal and member of the first Irish Free State government, who did much to implement private property as the buttress of the Irish economy, accurately and proudly termed the developments as ‘the most conservative revolutionaries to ever put through a successful revolution.’ For the renters, meanwhile, tenements continued to collapse while poor farmers children were forced to move abroad to seek better circumstances. During this stage the church was aligned with the state and its functions were strengthened to keep the Irish people in check; this being achieved through the schools, the health system and the institutions for the mad and the bad, the work houses, the industrial schools, and, most famously, the Magdalene laundries. Charity defined who was deserving and undeserving, ran by the church.

This housing system was most strongly challenged twice after independence. In the 1930s the poor kicked back against the new consensus of landlords and the rich. Republicans for the most part led the radical actions, and the more moderate political powerhouse, Fianna Fáil, appealed to the landless, the small farmer and the working class in the city. Slum clearances, social housing and the redistribution of land began. Real gains were made but there was no long-term challenge to the landlords, developers or investors. As a result in the 1960s and 1970s a new generation were again facing tenements, slums, overcrowding and high rents. Communities organised by setting up tenants unions, occupying courts, squatting social housing and protesting against the government of the time. Once again communities forced the building of social houses. Strikes and actions continued in the 1980s.

The Modern System

After the turmoil of the 1980s, the 1990s saw the birth of the Celtic Tiger. In both the 1930s and 1960s/1970s the state had been forced to break from its support for the rich briefly to redistribute enough money to build social housing and keep society under control. In the 1990s they had a new plan to build the rich and keep the poor down. It would involve supporting the rich through a privatisation drive and a redesign of the major cities.

For this to happen two things had to occur.

First the provision of mortgages had to expand and they had to become a normal part of life. This was to cement the illusion of ownership and to allow the profit of private provision to be front and centre. Mortgages were possible because banks were able to lend more money. Banks profited, developers profited, politicians profited and there were more homes for more people and more private development.

Second, communities that had fought for decent housing had to be dismantled. Central to this was regeneration, where private developers were hired to redesign social housing estates. Regeneration meant limited social housing, the sale of public land and the increase in the private rental sector. Regeneration swallowed the time and energy of the communities. Divide and conquer was the order of the day. Some families, after 20 years, got new homes, but many didn’t and were driven out to the edge of the city, all the while private developments sprung up around these pockets of communities and a ‘good social mix’ was policy.

2008: Economic Collapse

In 2008 the ownership driven model took a major hit. The Irish Banking system collapsed along with part of the world banking system. Banks collapsed in the US. In Europe banks stopped lending to each other and, suddenly, there were billions missing from the Irish banking system. The Irish government decided to take on this debt, passing it from a web of private banks, developers and investors onto the shoulders of the Irish people. Paired with this massive debt was austerity, the shedding of a weak social safety net, and along with it the basic needs provided by the state, which had previously been used to cover up the gap between rich, the middle and poor. The cuts were devastating: education cuts, community cuts, health cuts, mental health cuts, lone parents allowance cuts, welfare and pay cuts and, finally, housing cuts.

In housing the strain of debt cut across the entire system. Firstly as wages went down, as unemployment rose, and as banks looked to hold their assets together, mortgages went from being a sign of a healthy economy and social progress to a burden. Buy-to-Let, 100% mortgages, tracker mortgages, fix-rate mortgage and affordable housing mortgages and 50/50 mortgages all suffered at various times and in various ways as the stock market and banking system staggered from turmoil to turmoil. House prices used to show asset value had gone up in smoke.

Regeneration collapsed, and the problematic public-private partnership which had divided communities, broken community organising, and provided precious few homes while building a professional elite to administer communities, was fatally damaged. Weakened by decades where community self-organisation was discouraged, punished and, often, made illegal, the community fightback was disorganised and sporadic, if it existed at all. The social housing budget destroyed, cut by 80% and building all but stopped. Communities who were little-helped by the Celtic Tiger were now to see public housing viciously attacked, the few crumbs from the top table were no longer up for grabs.

The private-rental sector, much ignored and neglected in Irish society, started to play an important role. As house prices went down, so did rents; large numbers emigrated, smaller numbers moved towards renting. There was no change in conditions for tenants, and wide scale abuse was covered over temporarily by the lower prices, and a new renting class unfamiliar with rental procedures or housing regulations.

After the initial banking crisis and the first wave of austerity, the response from the rich and their bidders in government was twofold. The first move was to stabilise the housing system and the second was to use the crisis to privatise. This meant clearing debt and raising prices back up. The National Asset Management Agency was established (NAMA). This was for the big boys, the golden circle, the ones who had bought a lot of apartments, land, offices and buildings and needed their loans paid off. If the Irish developer and investor weren’t doing enough the door would be open for international vulture funds.

For the rest of the mortgage-holders, there were temporary measures to stop evictions. These were quietly lifted in 2014 and, since, bank repossessions of family homes, headed by unidentified private security in balaclavas with covered license plates, have become frequent.

For those big developers and investors and stable home owners, a new idea was coming to the fore: the private rental market could be a parking ground for everyone else. The former mortgage-holders and potential mortgage-holders, young professionals who hadn’t emigrated, or who might return to a new low-wage economy, students and all the communities hoping for social housing, could all be cemented as renters.


For the rich, efforts to stabilise and privatise housing has had strong results, and for everyone else it has been a disaster.

For owners, NAMA has brought the rich back into the housing game. It covered the majority of their losses, but the sale of assets has been a circle, from the Irish elite and back to the Irish elite, a circle that occasionally opens itself up to the international elite.

Nothing has been given back to the rest of society. This has meant that as wealth concentrates, the rich are sitting on their investments till the price goes up. Meanwhile, supply has dried up.

For renters, rental prices have surged dramatically, with no security of tenure, or decent conditions to accompany the price hikes. Many of the landlords have taken advantage of the situation to raise rents and not cover repairs while others have been caught in a cycle of rising living costs with high mortgage payments, making rent increases a part of their way out.

For the homeless, some families who fought a generation ago for social housing were forced into private rented accommodation after 2010. Due to the impact of community cuts, education cuts, lone parent cuts, health cuts, drug and support service cuts and welfare cuts there is a new, third layer of homelessness that is growing massively and is often hidden. Traditionally, homelessness was the space for the all of those outside of society, and spaces for the homeless were controlled by the church: the foster home, the industrial school, the mental hospital and the Magdalene laundries. For travellers who fought for freedom of movement, it involved keeping them in halting sites; for single mothers caught on the margins it involved keeping them locked away, out of society’s eye.

In modern Ireland, the Church has been irreparably damaged by its abuse of children and its subsequent cover up for abusers. The church still plays an important role in homeless provision but is no longer dominant. Charities, the state, businesses, and the last remains of the church, have made an unholy alliance and teamed up to create a new homeless industry. As austerity took hold a mix of charity and private business could be supported by the state to provide everything from hostel beds, day services, care services, residential living, community drug projects, and emergency accommodation that is more reminiscent of detention centres than it is of accommodation. The fallout from the mortgage crisis, austerity and rising rents in 2014 would be both a challenge and an opportunity for this still-growing homeless industry.

Housing For Rent

In 2014 after the boom of the Celtic Tiger, the Economic Collapse of 2008 and 6 years of austerity, the housing system was left in tatters. House Prices were low, building had halted and both rents and homeless were rising.

Housing in Ireland, since the foundation of the state had been focused on ownership, but now a plan began to emerge, a ‘rebalancing’ of the Irish Housing system which would put renting at the centre. Our proposal is that, as important as office space, hotels and mansions in Dalkey continue to be, a new engine is needed to drive the money making wheels of Irish property speculation, and this is emerging as the private rental market.

Renting and a strong profitable rental market has begun to emerge as the central vision for Irish housing. There are four pieces to this new housing picture, which together make up the first push towards the private rental market becoming the profit making engine of Irish housing.

Piece 1: Developing the Renters

There is a weak rental market in Ireland by international standards. Small landlords dominate an unstable mix of housing types, spread across the city, poorly managed and maintained. This made renting unattractive for many during the Celtic Tiger and now creates a range of problems as more and more people are forced to rent.

A rental market of small landlords and poor housing quality currently makes a profit but it could make far, far more. To do this the landlord class needs to be professionalised. This can be done in a number of ways. Firstly the small landlords could merge, secondly larger Irish landlords, investors and developers could push the small landlords out by buying up their properties or thirdly the development, investment and management of the rental market could be opened up to vulture funds and professional international rental agencies.

The main shift seems to be towards the final option, open up the market to the international rich. Many development areas in Dublin City, from the Docklands built to serve Ireland’s tax avoided multinationals, to Kilmainham, across the outer reaches of the South Side from Tallaght to Blanchardstown and Swords rental apartments are at the centre of new developments. These have either been developed from the start by or bought off banks and receivers by international companies. Rental Apartment development has become an important part of new developments in other cities across the island and even small to medium towns. This is only the beginning, if government efforts to court more and more international vulture funds bares fruit, such developments will only grow.

Piece 2: Public Housing: Moving the Poor into Private Rental

The 2014 Social Housing Strategy and the announcement of a new model of Housing ‘Public Housing’ in 2015 by the head of Ireland’s most powerful City Council, Dublin City Council signaled the second piece in the housing jigsaw.

The Social Housing Strategy, in the middle of the crisis, with homelessness rising and 140,000 plus people on the social housing list, basically outlined how it would avoid providing social housing. 10,000 homes were proposed per year for 5 years, but behind the smokes and mirrors, any direct work by the council has been largely focused on regenerating a small number of estates and refurbishment (counted as providing even though nothing new was built). The remainder by in large will not be provided directly by the state. Instead voluntary bodies, housing associations and charities are set to be the providers.

If only 10,000 social houses are to be built in the entire country, now largely not developed by the council directly, how will the waiting lists be cleared and what of future demand for social and affordable homes? A new scheme emerged in 2015, supposedly to tackle all of this, ‘Public Housing’. It was and is a call to eliminate social housing, and hand over low income families to an unstable and expensive private rental market, subsidised by the state. The centre piece of Public Housing, is the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). The state is and will form contracts with private landlords and pay the majority of the rent for tenants under the scheme. This would count as public housing and clear people of the waiting list. It is envisioned that 150,000 people would be on HAP across the country. A whole new range of schemes would also be part of public housing, cost based rental, affordable rental and supported rental. All would involve private landlords providing what was once the role of the council and state. According to Dick Brady head of housing at Dublin City Council, “Developers would get guaranteed rental income and profitable returns over the period.”

As with the social housing strategy, public housing cemented the idea of the council as manager not provider. According the Dick Brady “the key was to “marry” the roles of housing developers and housing managers for the public good. The public good here seems to be the investors pocket and the end to a housing system based on security of tenure and fair rent based on income paid to the state and redistributed to the rest of society.

The move towards public housing, aka private rental instead of social housing has begun. The Private Rental Tendency Board has become the Rental Tendency Board, as all rental disputes merge, HAP has begun its role out and has already begun to dominate parts of the housing and homeless section of councils work and major charities. The government is backing measures to sell the existing social housing stock through low cost loans and right down of prices of social housing for existing tenants to buy these homes. Finally new developments, on public land, are largely being reserved for commercial and private rental development.

The goal of a private rental market as the king of Irish Housing is not yet a reality but its idea is guiding housing policy up and down the country.

Piece 3 Mortgages: Pushing the bottom Mortgage Holders to Private Rental

Since the housing crisis blocks had been put in place to avoid large scale evictions in the mortgage market. These measures left families in terrible debt and improvised in homes but avoided large scale evictions for a time. Two measures in 2014 and 2015 came together in the mortgage system to facilitate this. The first was the Land and Conveyance Act which came into effective in 2014. This quietly lifted limits in place on eviction. In 2015 restriction were also put in place on mortgage borrowing. Prospective mortgage holders would be limited access to the mortgage market if on low income.

In Dick Brady’s words “Public housing would capture …those who have been squeezed out of home-ownership”. Mortgage holders evicted due to arrears and new prospective home owners unable to afford a mortgage would be set with one last option, private rental.

Piece 4: A Homeless Industry

An unstable rental market has already meant a massive increase in homelessness, and with that an emerging homeless industry.

As sick as it sounds, a homeless industry is both a need and an opportunity for the Irish Establishment. It is an opportunity as private business can make money out of this suffering and charities and NGO’s can build their organisations and enrich their board and management. A homeless industry is needed to take in those economically pushed out of the private rental market. It is also needed as a social control, the fear of homelessness means that those who hope for security and are not getting it in the private rental market will stay quiet out of fear homelessness.

This is not a pipe dream, this system in all its brutality is already in place and growing. Councils are moving out of prevention, through the cuts to services, community resources and other measures taken. They are moving away from providing accommodation. In cities, this entails more and more contracts for companies and charities. On traveller halting sites, this means councils refusing to service the sites and/or directly closing sites across the country. For direct provision and refugee accommodation this means private companies providing spaces, and charities checking on conditions, acting as management/regulators. Modular housing has emerged as temporary accommodation that is more stable then hotels but which keeps people in homelessness while creating a new market for private developers and management companies. Homelessness is being made permanent and profitable.

The Cost of a New Renter System

The push to make the private rental market the centre of housing in Ireland is the most right wing push on housing, the most damaging attack on the idea of housing based on need, in a generation. While a small number will benefit, investors, landlords and the rich, there will be very real costs for the majority, if their plans go through.


The private rental market is unstable by nature, the law, and gardai back up landlords who can evict and the price is set by landlords and investors who will always seek higher profit and therefore rent will go up. The current plan will make this acutely worse. Currently there is not enough private rental supply. The private rental market needs to massively expand to take into those who would be seeking social housing, those coming into the private rental market and those being forced out of mortgages. The numbers simply don’t add up.

HAP the main way of clearing the waiting lists and moving people into private rental will be voluntary for landlords, therefore landlords will not have to accept payments and there will be little or no punishment if landlords pull out of the scheme. When this is combined with the fact that there is no security of tenure or rent controls, tenants are always going to be worried about high rents, rent increases and the risk of homelessness.

Damaging Communities

Economic instability create social instability. A rental system with no security of tenure and rising rents means people forever moving from home to home, breaking any bonds formed with the community and the services they avail of. Without community, without support we see isolation, mental health problems, and breakdown for people’s day to day lives. Austerity has made this worse already by cutting funding to all supports for people and communities. If you fall through the cracks there is little to pull you back up.


The private market will be expensive for the immediate tenants and in the longer term for society.

With prices set by the markets (who are investors, developers and landlords), a lack of supply because of an investment strike by the rich and with attempts to move large numbers of people from mortgages and social housing into private rental we are likely to see rents continuing to go up.

For private renters on no payment from the state, and with wages low this will push more into poverty. For those on HAP, the state will be paying increasing amounts of money to landlords. For the rental system to work there will be a need to have a large homeless industry. Currently in 2016 costs are 102 million in state subsidies for such a system. When you factor in the loss revenue from social housing sell offs, tax breaks and incentives and spending by the state on subsiding new developments, the housing system will be extensive for everyone without any direct security or stability for the majority.

Deepening Class Divide

Irish society is deeply divided by class, and property is at the centre of this. Despite Dick Brady’s assertion that private rental market, via public housing will create “mixed tenure communities” efforts to create a private rental model seem more likely to deepen rather than loosen class division. Renters are being between private, those who will have a wage to rent without support largely a multinational or managerial middle class, affordable and public for those working but with low incomes the working class and finally social housing for those without work, the lowest section of the working class, to be stigmatised and divided from society further. Homelessness adds an extra layer of brutal class divide between renters and the homeless and within homelessness. The homeless will be seen as having nothing as less then renters. Within homelessness there already is a divide between the respectable and deserving homelessness those who do their time and keep their head down, versus the troubled homeless whose who stand up against their mistreatment or struggling with their living in terms of substance abuse of mental health problems. Stigma and fear will drive the class divide at the centre of modern visions for Irish Housing.

Solutions and the Fight Ahead

Social Housing for all

We badly need an alternative that deals with the immediate conditions, instability, brutality and inhumanity of the existing system and creates a long term alternative which provides for all based on need.

Private home ownership while providing stability for some but has allowed the rich, the golden circle of developers, investors, landlords and political elite to cement their power in Irish society.

The Proposed Private Rental/Public Housing Model, cements an unstable, unaffordable community and class dividing system, which will damage us in the long term.

Social Housing has had its ups and downs. Considered progress from the days of tenements and slums, a place of fair rent and community solidarity, the drug epidemic, unemployment and lack of community resources in the 1980s damaged its image. Despite this the basic idea of social housing is sound, fair rent paid based on income and housing managed by the councils not the private market. We need to not only bring back social housing we need to expand it to include all incomes. This would mean diversity of tenants and enough income to help maintain the housing system for everyone to benefit.

First Steps: Supporting Homeless, Renters and Mortgage Holders

We need short term steps that can be taken now to move us towards housing for all based on need. These steps need to be based on the principles of safe, secure and fair tenancy, housing taken out of the private market, breaking down class divisions and building community.

Homelessness: Anyone in the homeless system should have safe and suitable accommodation for their needs as a right. They should have fixed term contracts with full tenancy rights and the right to representative in any disputes. Homeless services should be taken back from businesses and charity organisations and ran directly by the state. Homeless services should be in the community in which the person has their support network and resources should be built around these needs.

Renters: Security of tenure and rent control. Right to representation in any disputes, based on collective bargaining (a tenants union). To take rental properties out of the market immediate and rebalance power for tenants, indebt landlords should have the option to write off their debt if rental property becomes social housing. This would mean a large reduction in rent for the tenant and a secure contract with the council. Landlords who mistreat tenants, break rent control, or fail to provide safe and suitable accommodation should be fined with the option of repossession of the property with tenants then transferring to social housing.

Mortgage Holders: In the short Term Mortgages debt could be offered to be written off with owners agree that their home becomes social housing. The mortgage holder would then pay rent based on their income, housing secure for their family and the property would be out of the market. Opening up the option of social housing to existing mortgage holders and perspective mortgage holders would mean the option is there for a far lower monthly payment without the risk of economic eviction. For many home ownership is the route they want to take and they will still have that option, but for those who’s main reason for a mortgage is cost and economic security, social housing will be cheaper more secure option.

Long Term: Social Housing for all in Communities for all

Measures to provide for the homeless, renters and mortgage holders and move them towards secure stable and fair rent and housing outside the market would help to rebalance the housing system and provide for thousands currently trapped. Social Housing and strong Communities built around them are the long term solutions that go on top of this. A large scale state building program is needed. Such social housing needs to be built and developed based on need. This means building and transferring homes into social housing where there are existing amenities and community services, traditionally better off areas, and providing community supports while building is done. The types of social houses need to be diverse based on diverse needs and interests. Finally a bad landlord cannot be replaced by a bad council or charity manager. Communities need to have a democratic say in both the running of their estates and in the services provided, through direct democracy.

Fighting for this change?

The powerful forces are moving against housing based on need. Investors, businesses, developers and landlords are lining up supported by the state, charities and NGOs, and a range of academics and policy advisors pushing for a deepening and strengthening of the private market in housing.

We will have to fight this and there are number of important points to keep in mind while we do.

1) Those affected lead

Those affected are many and have common cause to fight back.

Those affected are everyone who is homeless, those living on the street, in B&Bs, hotels and hostels, in detention centres, (in direct provision as refugees) prisoners, people coming out of institutional care, those coming out of rehab, travellers kept on halting sites and women forced out of abusive relationships into domestic refuges.

Those affected are those in social housing who have stability now but whose families, children and grandchildren face overcrowding, homelessness, sofa surfing and an unstable rental market. They can demand their families are looked after and their communities are strengthened after the devastation of the last 30 years.

Those affected are everyone in rented accommodation, be they social renters or private renters; sick of a system which sees them pay so much of what they earn in rent, for an unstable and uncertain living.

Those affected are those who got a loan from a bank to get their family home and who are now living month to month, spending all their money paying a bank that always wants more. This includes those in arrears, and those on the edge of arrears, struggling with their bills.

2) Those most at the fringe will lead from those affected

Those affected who are most at the fringe of the system, the homeless and the lower renters who traditionally fought for social housing we argue are best placed to lead the fight back.

Firstly these groups have the least too loss. The risk of homeless and eviction has already forced a fight or flight response in many. Some escape, understandably, but many have already stood up and fought back, from stopping their own eviction to occupation of the council to ongoing battles with their landlords or the state over conditions.

Secondly, we cannot win a long term change to the system as a whole one by one. We need collective action for wider change. When pushed to the edge of society many increasingly come together to support each other despite the obstacles. If you have little you are more likely to rely on family, friends and your community for support and you support your family, friends and community. The working class and those suffering at the margins are largely not organised into ‘formal’ groups but they still holds informal community power and take collective action when needed. This the base to fight from.

Thirdly the collective memory of the fights of the 1970s and 1980s of social housing when it was new and when communities looked after each other is collective memory of what we need for our children and our children’s children. It is the inspiration for change. Working class families have this memory and tradition which our generation needs. This is inspiration for those struggling in homelessness, social housing and low income renters but also inspiring to those above who might feel they are more comfortable but still facing high rents and unstable housing, who fight consider themselves respectable but who need to fight like everyone else.

3) Room for supporter in the struggle

While those affected need to lead the fight back and those most at the fringe are those taking up the fight already there is room for allies. There are powerful forces who profit from housing, who profit from an insecure and unstable housing system and who build their lives and power on being a class above. They have considerable resources and the full force of the state behind them. Therefore supporters will be important. There are four groups of supporters in particular who can support those affected and combine with them in the struggle for change.

Firstly those who are not affected, who are secure in housing or employment but believe in decent housing for all. These people are important allies, both to support the struggle by those affected and to use their security to take risks that those affected may not be able to.

Secondly there are the left wing political forces. Left wing, socialist and in Ireland left Republican political forces set out their aim as a just and equal society which includes housing. These groups need to support those affected and their communities. They can also connect struggles, from racism and gender inequality which play out in housing to the wider push by the elite to privatise and enrich themselves across all areas.

Thirdly there are Trade Unions. Working conditions and housing are inseparable. A pay increase means nothing if rents go up, more job security means nothing if your rent goes up and homelessness blocks the ability to work full stop. If the aim of trade unions is decent pay and conditions they have to include housing in this, if the aim is further, the dismantling of capitalism itself and its replacement with the labour control then social housing is inseparable from that aim. Trade Unions also have the rich tradition of struggle, organising and disruptive tactics that their members need and the wider housing movement needs.

Finally other ‘progressive’ organisations. There are a whole range of think tanks, universities, charities and NGOs which play a problematic role in defending and protecting the private housing system. These structures need to break from their role and provide a space to both critique the inhumanity of the system but also provide space and resources for the voices of those affected.


The History of Housing is Ireland is of brutality, inequality, power for the rich and marginalisation of the poor. It is a system built on ownership that now aims to be centred on renting. It is a system that will continue to and will deepen chaos, instability and suffering for the majority.

We needs an alternative, the system needs to be replaced as a whole not tinkered with at the edges. We need a social housing system open to everyone, taking housing out of the market, providing security and fair rent and starting the challenge to class division itself. We will not be handed this, we need to fight for change. Those affected and those most at the fringe of the system can and will lead this fight back and will call broad sways of society to come out and support, the most common sense but radical of demand, a secure, stable home for all.