The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has backed innovative new proposals to tackle the housing and homeless crisis, put forward by the One Cork project, a collaborative initiative involving 20 trade unions in Cork. The One Cork plan – Housing our Communities – calls for the creation of a new standalone Municipal Housing Authority “through which a building programme can be developed, funded and maintained…this agency would pool existing architectural, finance and procurement expertise within the participating local authorities.”The One Cork project, which is spearheaded by Congress Treasurer and SIPTU General Secretary Joe O’Flynn, is an innovative, collaborative project that involves 20 trade unions in Cork working together on a range of issues.  Congress backed the new housing proposals following a briefing on the key initiative from One Cork’s Barry Murphy, for the Executive Council.Mr Murphy outlined how a new Municipal Housing Authority would have “direct responsibility for the public housing portfolio, which would include construction of new builds and ongoing maintenance of the mixed income rental properties.”He said it could overcome existing roadblocks faced by local authorities and recycle rental revenues back into maintenance and additional housing construction and also access borrowings directly from the Housing Finance Agency.Speaking after the briefing Congress General Secretary Patricia King said the One Cork initiative was “a significant input from the trade union movement on a very critical issue for Irish society.“Congress has already proposed a major state-led programme of house building, the use of compulsory purchase orders and a Vacant Site levy in order to tackle this crisis.“The One Cork initiative is a welcome addition to this and we see no reason why it should not have a wider application, across the country.A copy of Housing our Communities is available here.