Galway Simon Community have warned that the homeless and housing crisis is now out of control and will continue to escalate, with the Daft.ie Q2 Rental Report showing rents continuing to rise for a record short supply of available homes.
The homeless and housing charity is calling on the Government to urgently increase rent supplement limits and to introduce rent certainty. The figures released from Daft.ie show the extent of the crisis with inflation in rents in Galway City at 10.1%.
Bill Griffin, CEO of Galway Simon Community, said that details of the report are â€śextremely disturbingâ€ť.
“This is an emergency happening right here in Galway as in other parts of the country. We see the devastating impact of rising rents and reduced supply everyday – people on low incomes and those in receipt of rent supplement can no longer afford rental payments.
â€śIt’s inevitable that we will see even more people turning to us for help unless the housing crisis is urgently addressed. As rents continue to rise, the numbers of properties available have reduced significantly and are now at the lowest levels of availability in a decade.â€ť
â€śThe Government must intervene urgently to alleviate the crisis before the onset of winter. Rent supplement and the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits must be increased. The decision last March by An Tanaiste and the Department of Social Protection to leave Rent Supplement limits unchanged must be urgently reviewed. This decision is causing homelessness and will continue to do so unless addressed,â€ť said Mr Griffin.
â€śAs rents continue to increase, the gap between the Rent Supplement levels and the market rate grows even wider. Rent certainty measures promised by Minister Alan Kelly earlier this year must be introduced as a matter of urgency. An increase in these limits coupled with rent certainty would protect against market inflation.â€ť
A Simon Communities snapshot study from May 2015, ‘Locked Out of the Market’, looked at the gap between rent supplement levels and market rents. There was an average of 104 properties to rent in Galway City Centre over the three day period the exercise was carried out. The study showed that of those properties, only two properties were available to rent within the rent supplement limit for a single person, three for a couple, 14 for a couple or single parent with one child and three for a couple or single parent with two or more children.
â€śThe biggest challenge right now is access to appropriate, affordable housing and, unless urgently addressed, more people will suffer and more people will become homeless.â€ť