Report launched today to discuss the housing crisis and the governments over-reliance on the private rental sector. The report, which was launched in a policy briefing delivered to an audience of TDs, senators, and housing policy makers at Dáil Eireann today, states that the policy shift away from investment in new social housing has contributed to the social housing and homelessness crisis. It recommends the tripling of spending on social housing to €1 billion per annum to enable the rapid building within 16 months of 5,000 additional social housing units.The new report calls for the de-prioritisation of Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) as the main provider of social housing in Rebuilding Ireland. HAP sees housing applicants find their own private rented accommodation. The Local Authority pays the landlord directly with tenants then paying rent to the Local Authority based on their means.
The Government’s 2016 housing plan “Rebuilding Ireland” made clear that this is the primary strategy for providing additional social housing. 32,000 households are expected to be provided with housing through HAP between 2017 and 2018. 87,000 units of housing are expected to be provided up to 2021. However, the Maynooth University report argues this approach further exposes lower income households to the inequalities of the private market.
Discussing the challenges of lower-income and homeless people competing in the private market, report co-author Dr Mary P. Murphy, Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute (MUSSI), said: “The HAP schemes are reliant on supply from the private rental sector, which is in unprecedented crisis with a dramatic increase in demand for rental housing in recent years. Participants are trying to compete with tenants who are more likely to have recent work and landlord references. Most families report that they are filtered out of the private rental search at the first hurdle. The most vulnerable families have had their chances of finding accommodation extremely reduced by the prioritisation of HAP.”
Click here to view the full report - Report Investing in the Right to a Home: Social Housing, HAPs and HUBS