Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has said that the findings of the latest study by the Simon Community reflects the mounting challenges facing families and individuals seeking accommodation across the state, particularly in urban areas like Dublin.

The Sinn Féin TD was responding to the ‘Locked Out of the Market XI’ study which found that just 8% of rental properties surveyed across 11 areas are priced within the reach of households receiving Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and Rent Supplement.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“The Simon Community’s ‘Locked Out of the Market XI’ study looked at the cost of renting in eleven locations across State. It highlights the mounting housing challenges facing families and individuals across the State, but particularly in urban areas like Dublin.

“This latest report found that out of 530 properties available to rent, 489 were above the HAP/Rent Supplement limits. Therefore only 41 of these available properties were within the limits of the four categories of household within the study, which were singles, couples, couple/one parent one child, and couple/one parent and two children.

“No properties were available in Galway city centre, Limerick city centre, or in Portlaoise across all four categories, and this is a growing area of concern.

“Furthermore, just one property was available across all categories in Athlone, Dublin city centre, North Kildare, Sligo town, and Waterford city centre.

“This is the lowest recorded point in a downward trend that has been declining since Rent Supplement and HAP limits were increased in July 2016.

“This report further highlights how private rented sector government subsidised accommodation is out of reach for a lot of citizens and it is pushing more and more people into homelessness.”

Crowe continued:

“Thousands of people remain trapped in emergency accommodation, they are locked out of the private rented market because rents are too high and supply is too low.

“The lack of social housing means people must turn to the private rental market for accommodation, but for those relying on State housing benefits, this solution is not working.

“The gap between housing benefit payments and market rents is too wide for people who are struggling, and with more and more people homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

“In my opinion the only sustainable and long-term solution to end the current crisis is to build more social and affordable housing.

“I am also, on the back of this report from the Simon Community, reiterating my call for the current government to double the capital expenditure on social and affordable housing in Budget 2019. This move must also be accompanied with the introduction of real rent certainty and security of tenure for tenants.”