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Gap between HAP/Rent supplement rates causing homelessness – Ó Broin

16 May, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has commented on the findings of the latest study by the homeless charity the Simon Communities. The report shows that 88% of 600 rental properties surveyed are priced beyond the reach of people relying on state housing payments like Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and Rent Supplement.

Deputy Ó Broin said: 

“The release of this report coincides with the release of the latest rental market report which shows that rents are continuing to rise and rose by 13.4% this year. The Simon Communities Locked Out of the Market VII looked at the cost of renting in eleven locations across state. The results of the survey highlighted how single people are at a distinct disadvantage with only two properties across the eleven locations available to rent falling within HAP/ rent supplement limits for a single person.

“The Simon Communities report shows that gap between HAP and rent supplement levels and the market rent is too big and is growing. It is pushing accommodation out of reach of a lot of citizens and in many cases into homelessness.

“HAP and rent supplement payments are not equivalent to providing real social housing. The government’s housing policy is centred on providing private sector leased accommodation and dressing it up as ‘social housing solutions’. The reality is that 75% of the ‘social housing solutions’ provided by Minister Coveney recently are private sector solutions. The majority of these are HAP tenancies that do not provide families with security of tenure and do not assist in building sustainable communities. 

“Minister Coveney’s plan to have 65,000 families on HAP tenancies by 2021 is simply bad policy. It is bad for the taxpayer. Fourteen years of HAP payments to keep a family in the private rented sector pays for a Council House, which is an asset to the state. Plus the increasing use of HAP puts the fragile private rented sector under more pressure and pushes up the cost of renting for everyone.

“These families need real social homes. The government is not ambitious enough in its social housing delivery targets. Increasing the supply of real social housing units is the only way to adequately tackle this crisis. The delivery of these units will take time. In the meantime the Minister can provide some relief to those in the private rented sector by introducing real rent certainty and sufficient security of tenure.” 

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