A CORK City councillor has called for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) rent limits to be “urgently reviewed and revised in Cork”, following the publication of the latest report from Social Justice Ireland, titled Housing and Poverty 2022.
The study’s main national findings revealed that the overall poverty rate increased from 13.3% before housing costs to 19% after housing costs — an rise of almost 300,000 people.
Renters are the worst affected, according to the report, with 44.7% at risk of poverty after housing payments.
“Renters are being repeatedly failed by this Government, with the pace of inflation [having] completely outstripped wages, meaning most renters are barely just surviving,” said John Maher, Labour councillor for the city’s North East ward.
“The fact that we continue to rely on the private market for social housing is also having huge consequences for people, and the Government continues to ignore this ticking time-bomb.
“The HAP limits have not been revised since 2016, despite the fact that rents have increased exponentially since then.
“We know that people are topping up with rates they can’t afford.
“There is also a huge lack of available properties under the HAP limits throughout the country.”
He said that HAP limits are having a massive impact on single people, in particular.
“We in the Labour Party have continually called on Government to wake up to this issue and to stop ignoring the needs of the some 400,000 single people in Ireland when it comes to housing,” he said.
“The housing system is not sustainable. Government knows this, and multiple reports have confirmed the same.
“The Social Justice Ireland report revealed that when mortgage interest and rent payments are taken into account, 19.6% of people in the South of Ireland are at real risk of poverty. That is staggering.
“At the moment, there are only 18 properties available to rent in Cork City for less than €2,000.
“This is the second-largest city in the country, notwithstanding that €2,000 a month is completely out of the reach of anyone on an average industrial wage, and the Government must intervene and review the HAP limits for people in Cork urgently.”
Meanwhile, Solidarity TD for Cork North Central Mick Barry said the findings of the latest Social Justice Ireland report “underline the need for a nationwide rent freeze”.