Almost all rental properties in Galway beyond reach of those relying on housing support

Galway Simon Community says the private rental sector is still in crisis, and that this is highlighted by the latest Simon Community study.

The snapshot study, ‘Locked Out of the Market VII: The Gap between Rent Supplement/HAP Limits and Market Rents’, was conducted over three days in March 2017 (1st, 2nd, 3rd ).

Since the first study was conducted, nearly two years ago, the supply of rental properties available in Galway City has decreased by 73 per cent from an average of 104 properties available in May 2015 to just 28 properties in March 2017.

Only two out of the average 28 properties available to rent in Galway City were within the housing support limits (Rent Supplement/Housing Assistance Payment (HAP ) ). These two properties were within the limits for a single parent or couple with 1 child and were one-bedroom properties. There were no properties available within the limits of the other three categories; single person, couple and couple or single parent with two children.

Bill Griffin, CEO of Galway Simon Community said the results of these studies have continuously highlighted the growing crisis in the private rental sector.

“In the two years since the first of these studies was published, Galway’s housing crisis has not improved, people are still struggling to find affordable accommodation in Galway and around the country.”

“The average rent for a one-bedroom property during the study period was €730, it’s complete madness. When you take into account the housing support limits as well as the huge number of people looking for accommodation in the private rented market, it’s near to impossible for people relying on state support to find affordable housing in Galway”, Mr Griffin added.

Nearly 7,500 people remain trapped in emergency accommodation; they are locked out of the rental market because the prices are spiraling and supply is too low. If we do not move quickly, more and more people will be locked out of the market.

The Simon Communities have this week launched their campaign, Locked Out of the Market, which highlights the pressures on the private rented sector.

Ireland’s rental market is not working. People who rent have very little tenancy security and can face increases in rent that they cannot meet. Many people who are becoming homeless are coming from the rental market. They have lost their home and cannot find another they can afford.

The Simon Communities are doing something about this – but they need your help. Join their campaign for a better, fairer rental system by sharing your experiences of the rental market using #simonlockedout and sharing their video.

We can fix this. The Simon Communities have three common sense solutions:

1. Give people full rent certainty by linking rents to the Consumer Price Index.

2. Provide people with greater security of tenure – knowing that they can stay in the home that they are renting.

3. Unlock access to the private rented market by closing the gap between Rent Supplement/Housing Assistance Payments and market rents (especially in Rent Pressure Zones ).

Galway Simon Community supported 319 households in the first quarter of the year (January to March ). The charity provides support and accommodation services to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Galway.

The results of the latest study were published as part of the Simon Community’s Locked Out of the Market campaign for a better, fairer rental system in Ireland. For more information about the campaign, visit www.galwaysimon.ie

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