herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

No affordable properties in five cities for singles on rent support

Simon's Niamh Randall
Simon's Niamh Randall

There were no properties that a single person on rent supplement could afford in Ireland's five main cities, according to a study by a homelessness charity.

Simon Communities surveyed rental properties in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford over three days in August - and none was within the price range for a single person relying on rent support payments.

The organisation is calling for an increase in rent supplement and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits in order to catch up with rocketing market rents. It also recommends the introduction of rent certainty in next week's Budget.

In Dublin, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroomed property was €1,200, meaning there was not one property within rent supplement limits for a single person.

Single people are worst hit by the lack of affordable rental properties, said Simon Communities spokeswoman Niamh Randall.

"One of the important points to make is that these are often the people at the bottom of everyone's agenda," she said.

"They are the people who have been forgotten, they've been failed by the State time and time again."

There were 859 properties available to rent in 11 locations over the three-day study, a 25pc decrease since a previous Simon Communities report in May.

Shrank

That figure shrank even further when those over rent supplement and HAP limits were removed. Only 7.4pc of the properties were available under current support limits.

Ms Randall said the issue of homelessness was moving towards a "much, much worse situation".

There are now 4,868 people in emergency accommodation throughout Ireland.

Among them are 707 families, 1,496 children and 2,413 single people.

Meanwhile, the construction of new social housing units in Dublin has plummeted by 90pc in four years, according to Fianna Fail senator Darragh O'Brien.

Only 388 new housing units were made available in Dub- lin between the start of 2011 and the end of last year. That compares with 3,340 social housing units built in Dub- lin over the previous four years.

Environment Department figures show only two new social housing units were built in Fingal between 2011 and 2014, nine in south Co Dublin, 39 in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and 338 across the entire Dublin City Council area.

Nearly 45,000 people are on the social housing list.

Mr O'Brien argued that the Government had "dropped the ball" when it comes to the provision of social housing.

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