Availability of affordable accommodation has contracted since June 2020, with single people and areas outside Dublin particularly impacted, Simon Communities Report shows

A new report by the Simon Communities of Ireland indicates that supply of affordable housing is
critically low throughout the country, especially outside the capital. The ‘Locked Out of the Market
Report’, reveals that just 738 out of 2,543 properties available to rent in 16 areas over a three-day
period from 21st to 23rd September 2020 on Daft.ie, were affordable for those in receipt of HAP
payments. The report finds that:

  • Just 738 properties available to rent during the three-day snapshot study period
    were within standard HAP limits.
  •  An overwhelming 94% of properties that fit into a HAP category were in Dublin,
    indicating the chronic lack of supply within affordable limits outside of Dublin.
  •  There were no properties available to rent within standard or discretionary HAP
    limits across 8 of the 16 areas. These areas are Athlone, Cork City Centre, Galway
    City Centre, Limerick City Suburbs, Limerick City Centre, Sligo Town, Portlaoise and
    Waterford City Centre. This is an increase from three areas with no properties within
    HAP rates in the June study.
  • Single people and couples remain disproportionately affected by affordable
    accommodation availability. Just one property was available to rent for a single
    person within standard Rent Supplement/Housing Assistance Payment HAP limits
    across all 16 study areas. There were just 6 two-bedroom units within standard HAP
    rates for a couple/one parent and one child across all 16 study areas.

National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, Wayne Stanley, said that the results illustrate
how the lack of affordable accommodation in the private rental is impacting those at risk of
homelessness and is worsening due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This Simon Communities study shows some of the challenges faced by HAP recipients to find a
home on the rental market during a global pandemic. It is incredibly difficult, particularly for single
people, to move on from emergency accommodation and homeless services when looking for HAP
accommodation, because all too often there is nowhere else to go.
“It is notable that we have seen decrease in those accessing emergency accommodation since the
start of the pandemic. There are now 8,702 people in emergency accommodation, 4,463 of whom
are single. Although we have seen this reduce during the pandemic, there are still too many.
However, contraction of market supply since the June report is a concern as we face into the winter
months, especially as the Covid-19 crisis continues to worsen.
“There is a lack of suitable accommodation within HAP limits, especially around the country,
particularly for single people and couples. Many of the areas surveyed had critically low or no

affordable accommodation. Two factors have contributed to this situation above all else; an over-
reliance on a private rental sector that is inaccessible to many, and insufficient levels of social

housing supply.

“Due to the Covid-19 crisis the building rate of social housing has slowed significantly with only 35%
of the total expected delivery this year. This is not currently at the level that is required to address
the number of people in emergency accommodation or on housing waiting lists. For a sustainable
long-term solution, there needs to be a significant and sustained increase in the supply of social and
affordable housing across all tenure types nationwide.
In the short-term, this report indicates that the discretion available to local authorities in HAP rates
need to be revisited to continue to support individuals and families to move on from homelessness
and to act as a preventative measure by providing the resources to those who have a home but need
support to retain it.”
You can read the report executive summary here, or the full report here.
For media queries and interview requests
Wayne Stanley
P: 087 799 3860
E: communications@simoncommunity.com
About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities support over 16,700 men, women, and children. We have 50 years
of experience providing homeless, housing and treatment services to people facing the
trauma and stress of homelessness. We are a network of independent Communities based
in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the North West and the
South East, responding to local needs and supported by a National Office in the areas of
policy, research, communications and best practice. We share common values and ethos in
tackling homelessness and, informed by our grassroots services, we campaign for more
effective policies and legislation regionally, nationally and at European level. Whatever the
issue, Simon’s door is always open for as long as we are needed. For more information,
please visit www.simon.ie.
Services include:
• Homelessness prevention, tenancy sustainment and resettlement.
• Street outreach, emergency accommodation and harm reduction.
• Housing with support and Housing First services.
• Homeless specific health and wellbeing services (counselling; addiction treatment and
recovery; and mental health supports).
• Personal development, education, training, and employment services.
• Food banks, drop-in centres and soup runs.

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