Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Eoin Ó Broin TD, has commented on the findings of the latest report by the homeless charity the Simon Communities stating that the findings are very troubling, and the Minister for Housing must urgently begin a time limited review of the Housing Assistance Payment.
The October 2021 Locked Out of the Market Report shows that there were just 27 properties available to rent, within the 16 locations studied, for households receiving the standard Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) rate.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“The Simon Communities’ October 2021 Locked Out of the Market Report looked at the cost of renting in 16 locations across state.
“The report found that out of 1,017 properties available to rent at any price, just 27 of those properties were available to rent within the standard HAP rates.
“In nine of the 16 areas, there were no homes available to rent in any category within standard or discretionary Rent Supplement/Housing Assistance Payment HAP limits. There was just one home to rent for a single person within the standard limits in any of the 16 locations.
“The results of the study once again highlights the lack of affordable rental accommodation across the state. Single people are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to trying to find a home to rent.
“As we approach Christmas the number of Notices to Quit and evictions are rising and unfortunately this will lead to more people entering homeless services.
“The Minister for Housing must also commission a short, time limited review of all rental subsidies including HAP by the Housing Agency to ensure that they are fit for purpose.
“Any decision to increase HAP limits must be accompanied by a ban on rent increases to ensure the increase doesn’t lead to further rent increases.’
“However the only real way to truly tackle this rental crisis is to dramatically increase the supply of real social housing. This will ensure people have access to permanent, secure housing. This will also relieve the pressure on the private rented sector as dependency on HAP is reduced.
“This must be accompanied by increased investment in genuinely affordable cost rental homes.”