Cllr Mairéad Farrell says HAP is not the ideal solution

Cllr Mairéad Farrell says HAP is not the ideal solution

Councillor Mairéad Farrell has commented on the findings of the latest study carried out by the homeless charity the Simon Communities.

The report shows that not one rental property surveyed in Galway City Centre is priced within the reach of households receiving Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and Rent Supplement.

Cllr Farrell said: “The Simon Communities’ report entitled Locked Out of the Market X looked at the cost of renting in eleven locations across state. The study found that out of 532 properties available to rent, 493 of these were above the HAP/Rent Supplement limits with just 39 available within the limits of the four categories of household within the study, which are singles, couples, couple/one parent one child and couple/one parent and two children.

“It also highlighted a decrease of 54% in available rental properties when compared to May 2015, when the first Locked Out of the Market study was carried out and there were 1150 properties available.

“Shockingly, the report indicates that Galway City Centre, along with 3 other locations, did not have even one available property for rent across all categories. A record low. I know from dealing with individuals and families in Galway who are looking for housing that Private Rented Sector subsidised accommodation is out of reach for a lot of people but this report proves clearly that this is the case.

“Government policy is wedded to the idea that HAP is an ideal housing solution for those in social housing need. It is not. It offers no security of tenure to tenants and is not a sustainable social housing solution.

“Social housing need is met by delivering real council homes owned by local authorities or Approved Housing Bodies. Increasing the supply of real social housing units is the only way to adequately tackle this crisis. Unfortunately this is taking far too long.

“A short term solution that would provide some relief those in the private rented sector is real rent certainty and sufficient security of tenure.”

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