There were just 41 Housing Assistance Payment-eligible properties for rent in the country last month, a new survey published by the Simon Communities of Ireland reported on Friday.
The figure is a slight improvement on the number of HAP-eligible properties reported by Simon’s previous quarterly report in September, which saw just 35 units available for rent.
Simon’s “Locked out of the Market” report studied 16 areas of the country, surveyed on three dates in December.
The majority of HAP-eligible properties were located in Dublin (24). Large swathes of areas studied in the report had no HAP-eligible properties available to rent, including Athlone, Cork city, Galway city, Co Leitrim, Limerick city and Waterford city.
The slight improvement in availability of HAP properties is mirrored in the rental market as a whole: in December, there were 757 properties available for rent, representing a 93 per cent increase from September’s figure.
However, December’s figure is still down significantly year-on-year: in December 2021, there were 1,349 available to rent.
Executive Director at the Simon Communities of Ireland Wayne Stanley said it was “not possible” to describe the current state of the rental market as an “improving situation”.
“The frontline experience of the Simon Communities working across Ireland, supporting people to move on from homelessness, reflects this,” he said.
“41 properties available in the context of 11,542 people seeking to exit homelessness is a chronic situation that requires an emergency response.”
Mr Stanley repeated calls for more affordable housing options.
“The Government has taken the important and welcome step of bringing in the moratorium on evictions.
“Actions taken while this moratorium is in place will go a long way and what we need to see is momentum on the provision of secure affordable accommodation to those in homelessness throughout 2023.
“In the short term, we need to look at the allocation of current local authority housing. If we are to ensure secure affordable homes are in place to address the homelessness crisis, we need to see the full potential in modular build, in vacancy and dealing with dereliction delivered on and brought into the public housing system,” Mr Stanley concluded.