Rising rents are leaving people homeless

Those receiving Rent Supplement and the Housing Assistant Payments have been locked out of the market...

Rising rents are leaving people homeless

Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/PA Images

A new study - carried out by the Simon Community - has found that the supply of housing for people receiving rent benefits is extremely low.

The organisation is launching its 'Locked out of the market' study this morning, which looked at 600 properties in 11 areas across the country.

The study found that 88% of the rental properties looked at are beyond the reach of Rent Supplement and the Housing Assistant Payments scheme during a three-day long 'snapshot' study of the market.

Of the available 12%, only two of these properties were available to rent for a single person within Rent Supplement/Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits and only seven properties were available to couples.

As recently as November of last year 17% of available rental properties fit into the Rent Supplement and Housing Assistant Payments scheme.

Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, commented on the report: "The once off increase in Rent Supplement/HAP limits in July last year has meant that they payments have not kept pace with rising rental payments. There has been a decrease in the number of properties available to people within these limits since our last study in November 2016 and that is following a drop in the August 2016 study too.

"While discretionary uplifts are available these are done on a on a case-by-case basis which is not an adequate policy solution; it is also extremely stressful for families and individuals and resource-intensive to undertake."

She added that Ireland's escalating rents are making people homeless: "Ireland’s private rented market is not working. People who rent have very little security and can face increases in rent that they cannot meet. Many people who are becoming homeless are coming from the private rental sector. They have lost their home and cannot afford to put a roof over their heads. Some stay with extended family and, when that fails, they enter homelessness."