The housing and homeless organisation say Budget 2019 must be a housing budget
Only 6% of properties are available within Rent Supplement (RS) /Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) levels, according to the Simon Communities latest Locked Out of the Market XII snapshot study, published today. There were 561 properties with no income limits available to rent across the eleven locations during this period. However, just 34 properties were available within Rent Supplement/HAP limits. The snapshot study was undertaken over three consecutive days in August 2018 (14th, 15th and 16th). The housing and homelessness organisation also launched their Pre Budget Submission 2019 detailing their priority areas for the Government in Budget 2019 including: the Private Rental Sector, preventing homelessness, Housing First, emergency accommodation, social and affordable housing supply, health and complex needs and social welfare and income adequacy.
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, speaking about the ‘Locked Out of the Market XII’ snapshot study said the private market is failing as a response in tackling the crisis.
‘The Government are heavily reliant on the private rental sector to deliver social housing through the Housing Assistant Payment (HAP); this is problematic because the supply simply is not there. Increases in RS/HAP limits introduced in July 2016 are no longer effective. Many people in emergency accommodation are there because they have already lost their rented home and it is nearly impossible for them to move on from emergency accommodation and homeless services because there is nowhere for them to go. This Locked Out study shows the situation deteriorating further with only one or no properties were available within RS/HAP limits in six out of eleven study areas. No properties were available across all four categories in Portlaoise and just one property was available across all categories in five study areas (Athlone, Galway City Centre, North Kildare, Limerick City Centre, Waterford City Centre). Nearly half a million households rent their home and these households need full rent certainty and security of tenure so they can have the stability and certainty needed to plan for their futures. The Government must increase Rent Supplement and HAP limits to allow single people, couples and families in receipt of these payments to compete fairly in the rental market. In Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs), these limits must increase by at least 4% as the majority of rents in these areas will increase by at least 4% per annum. In the absence of access to social housing as required or being able to afford to buy a home, the private rental market is the only option for many people and it is increasingly inaccessible to them.’
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities highlighted some of the changes needed in Budget 2019 to urgently address the homeless and housing crisis.
‘Budget 2019 is an opportunity for the Government to assess the impact of their current approaches and to what extent they can adjust these to ensure better outcomes for people in Ireland. Lack of secure, affordable housing is the primary barrier to solving long-term homelessness and ending the use of emergency accommodation as the State’s primary response to homelessness. To meaningfully tackle this unprecedented housing and homelessness crisis and to prevent its recurrence, the Government must do things differently. We call on them to use Budget 2019 as an opportunity to ensure Ireland has secure social and affordable homes at the scale required; that is the key to resolving this crisis. The Simon Communities are calling for action on several fronts including: preventing homelessness, Housing First, emergency accommodation, social and affordable housing supply, the Private Rental Sector, health and complex needs and social welfare and income adequacy. Most urgently, the Budget must ensure that we prevent people from losing their homes and provide access to safe, secure and affordable housing.’
‘There are at least 9,500 people who remain trapped in emergency accommodation because there are no homes for them to go to. It is essential to limit the time spent in emergency accommodation as people are being traumatised by their experiences and the longer they are trapped in homelessness, the greater the impact on their overall health and well-being. It is time to ensure that there will be an end to long term homelessness and rough sleeping by implementing the National Housing First Implementation Plan, sufficient funding across all Government Departments is now required to ensure the full and rapid implementation. People must not be left to wait any longer– we need urgent action now, they need urgent action now.’
The Simon Communities deliver supports and services to over 11,000 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness every year.
For media queries and interview requests
Tel: 01 671 1606/ 085 806 5141
Find link to our Pre Budget Submission 2019 here
About the Locked Out of the Market Study Series
Locked Out of the Market is a snapshot study undertaken over three consecutive days a few times of year, in this instance August 2018 (14th, 15th and 16th). It tracks the number of properties advertised to rent within the Department of Social Protection Rent Supplement (RS) limits and Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits. To get an indication of the pressure on the Private Rental Sector in both urban and rural regions details are gathered from Daft.ie for the following areas: Cork City Centre, Dublin City Centre, Galway City Centre, Limerick City Centre, Portlaoise, North Kildare, Athlone, Sligo Town, Dundalk, Leitrim, and Waterford City Centre. This is the twelfth snapshot study of this kind and compares the findings to the previous studies providing indicative point-in-time data on the pressure in the private rental sector and reflects the lived experience of people trying to find a home to rent in this period. See the full report here.
About Simon Week
Simon Week (October 01st-07th) is our annual advocacy week that is in its 11th year. There will be events and activities taking place all around the country at a local, regional and national level. This year we are asking everyone to sign our petition, ‘Homelessness Is Not Normal’ supporting our message to the whole of Government that the housing and homelessness crisis is not normal and it is not acceptable. To date over 8,500 people have signed our petition in just one week and the numbers keep on rising. Log on to https://www.simon.ie for more details.
About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities support over 11,000 men, women and children. We have almost 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 log on to www.simon.ie
- 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.
- Foodbanks, drop-in centres and soup runs.