The latest research which shows that rents have risen dramatically in Dublin and the surrounding counties clearly shows that the Government must revise the Rent Supplement nationally but particularly in those areas, according to the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP).
Most families now in hotels and B&Bs, visited by SVP volunteers are being forced into homelessness and into emergency accommodation directly because of huge rent increases in the private rental sector, says SVP
The latest daft.ie report shows that year on year rents have increased between 7.1% and 10% in Dublin and between 10.1% and over 14.4% in the surrounding counties.
SVP proposes that an immediate increase in Rent Supplement limits is urgently needed as a preventative measure to homelessness. It also proposes providing a financial incentive to private landlords for accepting tenants on the new Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) on condition that the quality of private rented homes are improved.
“The use of county by county limits should be reviewed as housing markets do not necessarily conform to county or local authority boundaries. We need realistic Rent Supplement limits that reflect actual market rents as families are being made homeless and find it hard to move on from emergency accommodation.” said SVP Head of Social Justice & Policy John-Mark McCafferty.
SVP says that the rental increases in areas such as North West Wicklow, North Kildare, and parts of South and East Meath, and other commuter belt areas around Dublin are particularly worrying as the maximum rent supplement limits in these areas are much lower than in Dublin. Compared to this time last year the number of homeless children in Kildare and Wicklow combined have increased from 9 to 27.
“Rent Supplement in these areas should be increased to the same level as those in the Dublin local authority areas. Local considerations, such as increased employment opportunities now or in the near future, third level institutions, the building of new schools, proximity to centres of employment and improvements in transport and other infrastructure, which are likely to drive up demand for and the cost of housing in particular areas, should be taken into consideration in the setting of maximum rent supplement limits.” said Mr McCafferty.
“The problems with Rent Supplement and the recently introduced Housing Assistance Payment are compounded by the dire lack of social housing units available. Despite assurances by Government of 35,000 new units by 2020, SVP is concerned, not only that the targets will not be met, but that the new supply will not meet the level of housing need in Ireland. SVP wants a review in early 2016 of the Government’s social housing delivery to date against their own targets and in light of housing need, which is expected to increase substantially due to home repossessions and increasing family homelessness.” he said.