HAP must be reassessed in light of rising cost of living
Responding to the Locked Out report published by the Simon Community today, Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan has called on the Minister to set out a timeline for an increase in HAP supports for the most vulnerable in the housing market.
Senator Moynihan said:
“HAP limits have not been revised since 2016, yet we have seen rents increase by 10% in the last year alone. In addition to this, the Central Bank revised forecasts published yesterday warn that inflation this year will peak at 8%. It’s long past time to increase payments made to those availing of the HAP scheme who are struggling.
“Labour has consistently called for an increase in HAP due to the rising cost of living and extortionate rents demanded throughout the country. This report shows a decrease of 46% in the number of properties actually available in the HAP category – only 80 properties are currently on the market at HAP rates.
“There are many low to middle income earners who avail of the HAP scheme as they are in the high rent, low security private rental sector. The scheme was designed to provide long-term, secure and affordable rent, but it is no longer working.
“Every month, we are seeing homeless figures creep up. The majority of people who enter homelessness come from the private rental market. HAP was introduced to protect and support these people but the payment is no longer sufficient. The rental market is simply unaffordable for most and without properly assessed supports, more people will fall into homelessness.
“Unfortunately we know that too many people in this country right now are having to decide whether to put food on the table or heat their home. Government must commit to an increase in HAP in line with inflation, taking into account of the average cost of renting in Ireland today.”