By Caroline Murray, Senior Manager for Community Services
As the pool of affordable and available rental properties continues to shrink across the country, our Support to Live Independently (SLI) team, has reported an increase in clients accepting tenancies which they cannot afford, placing them at risk of eviction and return to homelessness.
An increase in social and affordable housing is urgently needed to address this issue. A lot of the families, couples and singles we work with have been living in emergency accommodation for over a year due to the lack of social and affordable housing available to them. When accommodation options do appear, many are so desperate to leave emergency accommodation that they accept tenancies outside of their price range and quickly find themselves in arrears, placing them at risk of homelessness once again.
The crux of the issue is the lack of properties available within the Homeless Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits, as outlined by the Simon Community Locked Out Reports. This leads to clients “topping up” their Homeless HAP with their own income, leaving many with only €100-€200 per week to pay bills, manage their household and feed their families.
On the Dublin Simon SLI team, we are consistently advocating for our clients and seeking solutions to prevent them from falling back into the vicious cycle of homelessness. While the team is liaising with landlords and agencies, delivering budgeting support and linking people in with community support services, this core issue can only be solved by the swift implementation of a cost and supply focused Housing for All strategy, which we hope to see later this week.