Cian O'Callaghan TD

New figures released by the Simon Communities of Ireland reveal the true scale of the rental crisis faced by those reliant on the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), according to Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan.

Deputy O’Callaghan, who is the party’s spokesperson on housing, said:

“In its ‘Locked Out of the Market’ report for September, the homeless charity found just 27 properties available to rent within the discretionary rate of HAP – the lowest number since the surveys began in 2015.

“One of the starkest findings was that half of the 16 rural and urban areas included in the quarterly survey had no HAP properties available to rent in any household category within standard or discretionary limits. Overall, the report found just 901 properties around the country available to rent at any price, 75 per cent of which were in Dublin.

“The figures show that the Government’s over-dependence on private rental accommodation is failing vulnerable families and individuals who are reliant on HAP. This is against the backdrop of almost 13,000 people – including 3,895 children – living in emergency homeless accommodation and more than 500,000 adults still sleeping in their childhood bedrooms.

“While the HAP scheme is an essential lifeline for tens of thousands of people, it is completely unrealistic to expect payment rates to keep pace with soaring market rents. It is a sticking plaster solution that will not tackle the housing crisis in the medium to long-term.

“In our alternative budget, the Social Democrats called for 12,000 new social homes, 5,000 cost rental homes and 5,000 affordable purchase homes to be built in 2024. Nothing less than this level of ambition is required to make a difference to the lives of those struggling to put a roof over their heads.”

October 25, 2023

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