'Private rental market no longer an option for people': No HAP properties available in Cork city or suburbs

The latest Locked Out Report by the Simon Communities of Ireland shows there were just 41 properties available across the country for people on HAP, almost all under the discretionary version of the payment
'Private rental market no longer an option for people': No HAP properties available in Cork city or suburbs

Cork City and suburbs are among the areas with no properties available to people on any form of Housing Assistance Payment, according to the latest Locked Out Report by the Simon Communities of Ireland.

Cork City and suburbs are among the areas with no properties available to people on any form of Housing Assistance Payment, according to the latest Locked Out Report by the Simon Communities of Ireland.

It shows there were just 41 properties available across the country for people on HAP, almost all under the discretionary version of the payment, although the number of properties available to rent at any price across the country did increase in December.

Wayne Stanley, Executive Director of the Simon Communities of Ireland, said that while any increase in available properties was to be welcomed, the situation was so dire that "it just goes to show that the private rental market is no longer an option for people".

In the latest of the series of quarterly reports by the charity, 757 properties were available to rent in December, almost double the number available last September, but still far fewer than the 1,349 available in December 2021.

The number of properties available to rent increased for the first time in two years, but those attainable by those on HAP payments remains low, with 11 of the 16 study areas having no properties available to rent in any household category within standard or discretionary HAP limits. Those areas include the city centre and suburban areas of Cork, Galway and Limerick.Picture Denis Minihane.
The number of properties available to rent increased for the first time in two years, but those attainable by those on HAP payments remains low, with 11 of the 16 study areas having no properties available to rent in any household category within standard or discretionary HAP limits. Those areas include the city centre and suburban areas of Cork, Galway and Limerick.Picture Denis Minihane.

The report, published today, comes amid record levels of homelessness, with 11,542 people in emergency accommodation according to latest monthly data. Of the properties open to those on HAP in the latest report, 40 fell within discretionary HAP limits only and only one property was available to rent under a standard HAP rate, a one-bedroom property in Kildare suitable for singles or couples.

The number of properties available to rent increased for the first time in two years, but those attainable by those on HAP payments remains low, with 11 of the 16 study areas having no properties available to rent in any household category within standard or discretionary HAP limits. Those areas include the city centre and suburban areas of Cork, Galway and Limerick.

A recent report from Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) which found that in October, only six families and nine single people exited homelessness into a HAP property; the lowest figure seen in about five years.

Wayne Stanley said: "One of the phenomena we have had in these reports is that these numbers have been so, so bad, so unbelievably bad, that you think they cannot get any get worse - so now have we got to the point where this is as bad as it can get?"

Mr Stanley said the current moratorium on evictions had likely slowed the rate at which people were becoming homeless, but that the government should strive in the coming month to ensure the evictions ban did not have to be extended out of necessity at the end of March.

"It has slowed the number of people entering homelessness, particularly families," he said.

"Taking the learning from when we had the Covid [period] moratorium, then we were able to get individuals out of homelessness and into accommodation and we have three months left [now] and that is where the focus and energy is going to be.

"If not we are going to have to explore if we have to extend it.

"I don't think at this point we should be looking at the extension, we should be looking at what we can achieve in the next three months because that will go a long way to telling us what we can do in the next 12 months."

He added that extending the moratorium would effectively be "admitting defeat" and that a targeted programme of available and affordable accommodation was essential.

Regarding the figures in the latest Locked Out report, he said: "My sense of it at the moment is that what we have done is we have reached the bottom of where we are, for the time being."

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