Earlier today, a Simon Communities study reported that more than 90% of homes for rent in Ireland are not affordable under rent supplement or Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) schemes. Daniel, in conversation with TheJournal.ie here, is trying to find a place to live.
I’VE BEEN LOOKING for a place on HAP since January. I’ve looked at over 70 places.
I’m 29. I’m from Dublin, lived in Dublin all my life. Since I’ve gone looking for a place I’ve seen more of Dublin than ever before.
It’s very difficult and what the government has done is just replace the Rent Allowance with the Housing Assistance Payment. They just changed the name of it.
Landlords are just turning around and saying, “Sorry, someone else is after coming in with cash.”
I went to view a place in north Dublin in February and that place is still sitting up on Daft.ie. It was there two days ago. The rent was €950. It’s illegal for a landlord to refuse HAP, though.
I’ve sent on emails, even to letting agents. I only sent one the other day for a place in Sandyford. I didn’t even get a reply. I’ve looked at, easily I’d say, 60, 70 places. No one’s accepting it.
The Peter McVerry Trust at their place on Berkeley Street, they’re finding places that accept HAP. They get emails saying, ‘This landlord is accepting HAP.’ But when you get there, there’s about 80 people there, easily.
I’ve emailed some landlords twice. I don’t even keep a record anymore. I’ve dealt with about 10 landlords directly. Most of them go through letting agents.
Most people blame things on the councils but it’s not the council’s fault, it’s the government’s.
I have a partner and a child on the way. She’s not homeless, she’s currently living with her mother, thank God.
But I’ve cried myself, to tell the truth. I have cried. It gets so much that I actually just stopped for two, three weeks because I couldn’t bear to keep going, getting refused, getting refused, getting refused.
If you’re not in a proper state of mind you’ll go off the edge. People are robbing to get caught just to get locked up just to have a warm place to stay. That’s just the way it is.
I’ve no choice but to keep going as much as I can to eventually find a place. It’s gotten to the stage where people aren’t even texting me back. They all know you’re on the HAP.
They’re just turning around and refusing you, saying you need landlord references, work references. It’s all references, references, references.
You can hardly get a letter from the Peter McVerry Trust saying, ‘This man’s good.’ Sure what’s he doing homeless if he’s good?
It’s not right. The Peter McVerry Trust can only do so much and after that it’s up to us. But we can only do so much too.
Landlords are not going to take the risk. They consider it Rent Allowance. If the government don’t approve it then they’re stuck in a contract. That’s why there are no risks being taken. That’s just the way it is.
Daniel has been homeless for 10 years. He has been living in a mix of temporary and emergency accommodation during that time. This piece was written in conversation with TheJournal.ie.