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Just 38 properties available in March under HAP

There were 38 properties within the discretionary rate of the Housing Assistance Payment Scheme (HAP) available to rent last month.

It is an increase of 5 properties since December 2023, according to the latest Simon Communities ‘Locked Out of the Market’ report.

The research was conducted over three days in March.

It found that 1,180 properties were available to rent at any price within the 16 areas surveyed, which was an increase of 508 properties since March last year.

In 10 of the 16 areas – including Athlone, Cork city centre, Galway city, Limerick city, Sligo town, Portlaoise and Co Leitrim there were no HAP properties to rent in the four household categories studied.

The four household categories are a single person, a couple, a couple or one parent with one child and couple or one parent with two children.

As seen in many previous ‘Locked Out of the Market’ reports, the supply of properties within HAP limits were predominantly in Dublin where the discretionary rate allows up to an additional 50% on the standard rate; this is limited to 35% elsewhere in the country.

Sligo had the lowest number of properties available to rent with two properties available across the three days examined in March.

Three properties nationwide were available for a couple or a single person within standard HAP rates, these were located in Dublin city north, Dublin city south and Kildare.

Just 13 properties were available for a single person/couples through discretionary HAP rates in Cork city suburbs, Dublin city north, Dublin city south and Kildare.

For couples or parents with one child, there were no properties available within standard HAP limits. Meanwhile, 15 properties were available within discretionary HAP limits.

There were no properties available to couples or one parent households with two children through a standard HAP rate.

Just 22 properties were available within discretionary HAP limits, 15 of which overlapped with properties available to families with one child.

Studio apartments were enumerated for the first time by the Simon Communities.

While there are longstanding concerns about the viability of studio apartments as a sustainable option for people exiting homelessness, the charity has acknowledged that studios “may be suitable” for single person households where there are limited housing options.

There were 28 studio apartments available within HAP limits during the study period. 27 of these were located in Dublin, and one was located in Kildare.

Executive Director at the Simon Communities of Ireland Wayne Stanley welcomed Taoiseach Simon Harris’s greater ambition on housing, but he said the Government needed to outline how that ambition would be delivered.

“A critical element of any successful plan, that will help to address homelessness, should include the delivery of at least 15,000 social housing homes for rent each year.

“In the short term, we need to see HAP rates increased, but this is not a long-term sustainable solution. The answer is more social and affordable housing.”, he said.

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