Monday 19 March 2018

Study shows that 95 pc of homes 'priced too high' for those on rent allowance

Some 746 properties advertised online were surveyed as part of the study
Some 746 properties advertised online were surveyed as part of the study

David Kearns

There is just one property in Ireland within the reach of a single person receiving rent allowance, according to Simon Communities, who are calling for state rent support to be increased.

A new study conducted by the homeless charity found that 95 pc of rental properties available now are priced beyond the reach of a single person depending on this payment.

Simon Communities conducted the ‘Locked Out’ study over three consecutive days in November, and said they found out of 746 properties listed online there was just one in Country Leitrim within the “financial reach of a single person on rent assistance payments”.

“People who are single fared particularly badly with only one property available across the 11 locations falling within rent supplement/HAP limits for a single person,” said Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities.

“Yet we know 44 pc of those on the social housing waiting list are single.”

Read More: Kelly to announce funding for 1,000 new social homes

The third such study carried out by Simon Communities in recent months, the charity searched within Rent Supplement and Housing Assistance Payment limits for four family types; single person, couple, couple/one parent with one child, and couple/one parent with two children.

Ms Randall said that the study found no properties available within any of the limits in Kildare, and that throughout all of Galway, Athlone and Dundalk the only properties affordable for a couple or one parent family were one bedroom apartments.

In a search of Dublin City Centre, Galway City Centre, Limerick City Centre and Portlaoise, she said there was just one property available to rent within the limits for all of the four household types.

“Rent Supplement/HAP limits are simply too low… as rents continue to escalate… [it] is pushing people into homelessness as well as preventing people from leaving homelessness behind,” said Ms Randall.

“We are still in the midst of a housing and homeless crisis. It requires political will to introduce the measures necessary to bring relief to those people who severely affected.

“This Government still has the power to make the changes needed and they must take decisive action to address these issues now.

“Access to affordable housing with support is the most cost-effective and proven solution to the housing and homeless crisis,” she added.

Read More: 'Anti-homeless' bars placed at Tanaiste Joan Burton's office leaves charity director 'disgusted'

Simon Communities’ figures come as Environment Minister Alan Kelly is to bring proposed schemes on affordable rent and social housing before the Cabinet this morning.

Some 35,000 houses are to be built between 2015 and 2020 as part of Mr Kelly’s plans.

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