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'Chronic lack of supply' of affordable homes outside Dublin, warns homelessness charity

The latest report from the Simon Communities reveals the lack of affordable housing across the country.

Houses being built in Meath.
Houses being built in Meath.
Image: Shutterstock/Derick Hudson

THE SUPPLY OF affordable housing is “critically low” across the country, a leading homelessness charity has warned. 

A new study by Simon Communities shows that only 738 out of over 2,500 homes to rent across three days in September were affordable to people on the Housing Assistance Payment scheme (HAP), a social housing support paid by local councils to landlords. 

The report also finds that the vast majority of affordable homes were in Dublin, with a warning about a “chronic lack of supply” of affordable places to live beyond the capital city. 

Over 90% of all properties that would meet HAP criteria were in Dublin, according to the report. 

The latest homeless statistics show that 8,656 individuals were in emergency accommodation in September – a decrease of 46 from the figures from August.

“It is incredibly difficult, particularly for single people, to move on from emergency accommodation and homeless services when looking for HAP accommodation, because all too often there is nowhere else to go,” said Wayne Stanley, the Simon Communities national spokesperson. 

“Due to the Covid-19 crisis the building rate of social housing has slowed significantly with only 35% of the total expected delivery this year. This is not currently at the level that is required to address the number of people in emergency accommodation or on housing waiting list.

“For a sustainable long-term solution, there needs to be a significant and sustained increase in the supply of social and affordable housing across all tenure types nationwide,” he said. 

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Athlone, Cork city and Galway city were among the areas were no properties were available to rent for people in need of HAP payments. 

The report warns that that single people and couples are disproportionately impacted by this imbalance in affordable housing. 

Stanley called for a revisiting of the “discretion available to local authorities in HAP rates”. 

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