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Media Releases 2015

Simon Communities call for immediate action to address housing and homelessness crisis as new figures highlight spiralling rent costs

Press Releases, Press Release 2015

PRTB Rent Index reveals further surges in rents, leaving thousands on the edge of homelessness

The Simon Communities in Ireland have today warned that urgent and immediate action is required to address Ireland’s worsening housing and homelessness crisis. The call comes as new figures from the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) Quarterly Rent Index highlight rising rents, which are pushing the most vulnerable people into homelessness daily. The figures released and compiled by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) for the PRTB show an increase in private sector rents of 6.9% in the 12 months leading up to the first quarter of 2015. Rents for houses were up by 6.5% and apartment rents had risen by 7.8% in this period. Apartment rents in Dublin alone rose by 10.8%. This follows a 5.8% increase in rents nationally over the course of 2014.

Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland, said that details from today’s Rent Index report are extremely worrying.

“This latest PRTB report showing that the cost of renting is continuing to rise nationally is of grave concern to us and to the people Simon Communities support across the country. With 10,000 people moving into rental properties each month, and supply of rental accommodation at its lowest level in a decade, urgent action is now needed to address a housing crisis that is pushing thousands of people to the edge of homelessness.

“As rents rise and state supports remain stagnant, the crisis is only deepening. The numbers of people accessing homeless emergency accommodation continues to rise. At the heart of any new measures to address the crisis must be an immediate increase in Rent Supplement and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits, to bring them in line with current market rents.

“Rent certainty is also critical. The National Economic and Social Council’s recent report on the rental sector outlines a number of sensible recommendations, including a secure tenancy model for Ireland which includes greater rent certainty for tenants and landlords. It identifies measures to increase the supply of permanent affordable rental housing, in particular clear and better incentives for the provision of good quality long term rental homes. It also calls for more favourable treatment for landlords that have tenants in receipt of Rent Supplement and HAP.

“Simon Communities in Ireland welcome the Government’s Housing First approach to addressing homelessness. A policy that provides homes first, with the right supports, has been proven to work. But if the Government is serious about achieving its goal of ending long-term homelessness and rough sleeping by 2016, more urgent and ambitious steps must be taken now to address this deepening crisis.”

A full copy of the PRTB’s Quarterly Rent Index, compiled by the ESRI, can be found here.

For media queries and interview requests:
Michael McHale, Simon Communities of Ireland
Tel: 01 671 1606/ 085 806 5141
E:  communications@simoncommunity.com

Homelessness - the numbers

·         There are currently 3,143 adults in emergency homeless accommodation nationally, and 1,118 children. (DECLG, April 2015)

·         During one night in March 2015, there were 151 people without a safe place to sleep in Dublin City (DRHE 2015).  This included 105 people sleeping rough and 46 people sheltering at the Night Café. Unfortunately, Dublin is the only area where an official rough sleeper count takes place, making it difficult to get a countrywide rough sleeping picture. Figures from Cork Simon Community indicate that rough sleeping in Cork City increased seven-fold in three years (2011-2014).

·         In December 291 extra emergency beds were made available (Dublin and Cork), they are all or almost all are in use, (beds in Cork now wound down as at March 31st).

·         In December the Simon Communities reported a 41% increase in the number of individuals and families around the country turning to our services for help over a two year period.

·         There are 90,000 people on the Social Housing waiting list (Housing Agency 2014).

 

About Simon Communities

The Simon Communities in Ireland are a network of eight regionally based independent Simon Communities based in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the North West and the South East that share common values and ethos in tackling all forms of homelessness throughout Ireland, supported by a National Office. The Simon Communities have been providing services in Ireland for over 40 years.  The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 6,000 individuals and families throughout Ireland who experience – or are at risk of – homelessness every year.

 

Whatever the issue, for as long as we are needed, Simon’s door is always open. For more information please log on to www.simon.ie.

Services range from

·         Housing provision, tenancy sustainment & settlement services, housing advice & information services helping people to make the move out of homelessness & working with households at risk;

·         Specialist health & treatment services addressing some of the issues which may have contributed to homeless occurring or may be a consequence;

·         Emergency accommodation & support providing people with a place of welcome, warmth & safety;

·         Soup runs & rough sleeper teams who are often the first point of contact for people sleeping rough.

 

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