The Simon Communities of Ireland has welcomed the commitment to ending homelessness by 2030 in line with the European Declaration.
Wayne Stanley, Head of the Simon Communities of Ireland, believes the commitment to the review of discretion available to local authorities in terms of HAP is also very welcome.
“Overall, there are lots of positives in the Housing for All Plan in relation to homelessness. When we look at the overarching figures of social housing, 10,000 social homes will be built by local authorities and AHB’s (Approved Housing Bodies) per year for the next nine years and it is an ambitious target. However, taking account of the number of households coming onto the social housing list each year, we need to reduce reliance on HAP. We believe that 15,000 new public homes a year are needed.
A high percentage of the homes that are needed are one beds units. The absence of this type of accommodation has seen single person homelessness continue its upward climb, even during the pandemic when we saw an overall decline in homelessness. The questions that need to be asked are; what are the local authorities going to do and what direction will the Government give around allocation. HAP isn’t the medium or long term answer but the commitment to review the discretion in the level of HAP payment local authorities can allocate to keep people out of homelessness or support them in moving from homelessness is welcome. The Simon Community Locked Out report shows that there should only be one outcome of that review.
Finally the Minister, with the Local Authorities and AHB’s will have to look at allocations of scarce resources of public housing. If the Minister is going to meet the ambition of the 2030 target, the work needs to begin now to get ahead of the homelessness crisis.”