Aug 14, 2015

Locked out of the Market Report

Simon Communities study highlights urgent need to increase Rent Supplement limits to address homelessness crisis. This snapshot study reveals worringly low supply of properties within Rent Supplement / Housing Assistance Payment limits.


Seven out of eight properties available to rent are priced beyond the reach of those in receipt of rent supports, a rental sector snapshot study by the Simon Communities in Ireland has found.


Conducted over three days, ‘Locked Out of the Market: The Gap between Rent Supplement/HAP Limits and Market Rents’ highlights the growing disparity between rising rents and Rent Supplement / Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) limits for which have remained unchanged since June 2013. In the preceding two years national rents have increased on average by 18%, according to figures provided by Daft.ie.


The Simon Communities in Ireland believe urgent action is now needed to address the housing and homelessness crisis as it continues to spiral out of control. Increasing Rent Supplement and HAP limits to bring them in line with market prices must now be at the top of the Government’s agenda as the annual Pre Budget Forum takes place this Friday (3rd July). Rent certainty and the introduction of incentives for landlords whose tenants are in receipt of Rent Supplement and HAP, as recommended by the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), also must be introduced immediately if the Government is serious about meeting its target of ending long-term homelessness and rough sleeping by 2016.


‘Locked Out of the Market’, which was conducted in ten regions throughout Ireland in May, also found:
There was an average of 1,150 properties available to rent tracked on property website Daft.ie.
Of these available properties, just 138 (12%) were available within RS/HAP limits
Of these 138:
only nine were available within the single person Rent Supplement limit.
17 were within the limit for Rent Supplement for a couple.
69 were within the limit for a couple or single parent with one child.
43 were available for a couple or one parent with two children.


Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said the figures highlight the stark reality of the country’s housing and homelessness crisis:


“Rising rents and a restricted supply of housing are without doubt causing homelessness across the country. People who are homeless or on the very edge of homelessness currently have no hope of accessing the housing they need. In many cases they just cannot afford rents being sought, and Rent Supplement/Hap limits are simply too low as rents continue to escalate.”


“The last Daft.ie rental report highlighted an 8.2% increase in rents in quarter 1 of 2015, while supply dropped to the lowest point in a decade at 4,300 properties available to rent. Meanwhile, the latest
Department of the Environment figures show 3,143 adults and 1,118 children in emergency homeless accommodation nationally, and still people are sleeping on our streets night after night.”


“The facts are clear – the number of people becoming homeless continues to increase, and yet one clear approach to addressing this crisis is being ignored. The Government’s decision not to increase rent Supplement limits beyond their June 2013 levels must be reversed immediately. If the Government is committed to addressing homelessness and supporting people on low incomes to access housing, Rent Supplement limits must be brought in line with current market rates. This, along with rent certainty and the introduction of incentives for landlords whose tenants are in receipt of Rent Supplement and HAP payments, would go a significant way to addressing the current crisis.”

“The biggest challenge right now is access to appropriate, affordable housing and, unless urgently addressed, more people will suffer, and more people will end up homeless. Emergency accommodation must be replaced by an offer of housing and not a return to the streets.”




Links:

May 1, 2015

Simon Community Spring Update 2015

Please see below Dublin Simon’s Spring review. Dublin Simon is one of the 8 Simon Communities in the National Simon Communities of Ireland.

Dublin Simon Community opened a new Housing Support service, based in South Dublin City Centre, last June. They developed this innovative model of housing and support directly from feedback given by residents living in our medium support housing project at Hazelwood House. Residents had said that the fear of isolation and cutting ties from their keyworker were the main obstacles to living independently.

Residents can then decide how long they would like this level of support and can continue to have indefinite access to the facilities in Hazelwood House if they wish. They can attend classes and activities or just have a cup of tea if they are feeling lonely.

Ray, one of the first residents describes how he settles in to his new home

‘I just want to thank Simon for helping me get to my own place at last and thanks to all the staff for coming up and helping me settle in’.


Attachments:
Jan 29, 2015

Simon Communities of Ireland Annual Report 2013

As the homelessness and housing crisis continues in Ireland the eight local Simon Communities are working with more than 6,000 individuals and families throughout the country who experience – or are at risk of – homelessness every year.

We are seeing the real pressure in terms of housing supply. There are nearly 90,000 households currently on the social housing waiting list. Rents continue to increase as the number of properties available, especially in urban areas, decreases.

We have seen increased pressure on our services in every part of the country. The Simon Communities have responded to the challenges arising from the economic crisis and austerity by continuing to provide high quality services and meeting the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

Our services include:

  • Housing provision, tenancy sustainment and settlement services, housing advice and information services helping people to make the move out of homelessness and working with households at risk;
  • Specialist health and treatment services addressing some of the issues which may have contributed to homeless occurring or may be a consequence;
  • Emergency accommodation and homelessness support providing people with a place of welcome, warmth and safety;
  •  Soup runs and rough sleeper teams who are often the first point of contact for people sleeping rough.

Whatever the issue, for as long as we are needed, Simon’s door is always open.

Please read our 2013 Annual Report launched in December 2014


Attachments:
 
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