The Simon Communities in Ireland have said that it is deeply worrying to see the year close with a record number of people in emergency accommodation. 8,857 men, women and children remain trapped in emergency accommodation, according to figures released for November 2017 by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government and increase of 27% since November 2016. Meanwhile, figures from the RTB Rent Index show that nationally rents grew 9.5% over the year to Q3.
· 1,530 families are living in emergency accommodation, an increase of 27% since November 2016 when the figure was 1,205 families.
· 3,333 children are trapped in emergency accommodation, an increase of 31% when compared with November 2016 when the figure was 2,549 children.
· 3,410 adults without dependants currently in their care are trapped in emergency accommodation - an increase of almost 21% since November 2016 when the figure was 2,814.
· Rents nationally are up 9.5% year on year to €1, 056 per month.
Niamh Randall, Spokesperson for the Simon Communities said that the high numbers stuck in emergency accommodation reflect a rental sector that is out of control.
“This Christmas there will be 8,857 men, women and children trapped in emergency accommodation and many thousands more living with housing insecurity. Rent Pressure Zones are clearly not working; measures which impact all tenancies and limit rent increases within all tenancies are required. In the absence of an accessible private rental sector or social housing, people have nowhere to go. We know that many people entering emergency accommodation are doing so because they have been forced out of the private rental sector.”
“The Simon Communities snapshot study, Locked Out of the Market, published in December 2017 showed that 91.5% of properties to rent across the county are unavailable within rent supplement and HAP limits. Rent Supplement/HAP limits must keep pace with the market rents if people are to have any chance of competing in the open market and remain in their homes. These limits must be monitored and adjusted twice yearly to ensure they are aligned with private market rents. While discretionary uplifts to Rent Supplement/HAP limits are available, tenants are not always aware of this possibility and implementation can vary by region.”
“The Government acknowledges that the market cannot deliver the required housing mix. Therefore there must be a move away from private sector reliance and the commodification of housing. We need secure social and affordable housing across all tenure types within sustainable communities nationwide. There must a concerted focus on preventing people from losing the homes that they have. There are solutions: full rent certainty, linking rents to the Consumer Price Index; providing people with greater security of tenure; closing all loopholes in relation to evictions; and increasing, monitoring and adjusting Rent Supplement/HAP payments regularly. These must keep pace with market rents or they risk becoming ineffective, as they are now in many cases. We must also look at options to quickly deliver social and affordable homes such as empty homes and rapid build housing. Around 183,000 homes lie empty in Ireland. Within this, there is more than enough to house people now living in emergency accommodation. The potential to deliver much needed housing supply quickly is significant and it is deeply disappointing to us that the Empty Homes Strategy has not been published when it was promised last May.”
The Simon Communities deliver support, housing, homeless and treatment services to over 11,000 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness on an annual basis.
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Tel: 01 671 1606/ 085 806 5141
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 11,000 people 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.