Enough is enough – emergency eviction ban needed
- HAP limits must be revised
Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said the number of people living in homeless is a shameful inditement of government housing policy. With a record number of young people living in homessless, Senator Moynihan said without proper protections for people in the private rental market, Ireland will continue to experience record levels of homelessness.
Senator Moynihan said:
“The figures published today are deeply, deeply concerning. With the highest number of young people in homelessness on record, 1,230, government must act noq.
“There are now 1,238 families living in homelessness, 50 more than the previous month. 5,143 single adults are currently live in homelessness, 236 more than the previous month. This simply cannot continue. The Labour Party has consistently offered constructive solutions to government for a pathway to ending the housing crisis, but the time has come for emergency measures.
“With record numbers of people entering homelessness from the private rental market, Labour is calling for the implementation of an emergency eviction ban. The positive impact of the eviction ban was borne to life during the pandemic when the number of people presenting into homelessness fell dramatically. This temporary measure would put renters at ease that they will not be kicked out of their homes.
“This measure must be coupled with a rent freeze. Figures published by the Residential Tenancies Board this week clearly point to a rental market out of control. Rent freezes are constitutionally possible, and this temporary emergency measure would help stem the crisis as more affordable homes come into supply.
“The lack of affordable homes to rent has been well documented. Right now, there are a number of counties without homes available for people availing of the HAP scheme. What’s more, the HAP limits have not been revised since 2016, despite the fact that the rental market has fundamentally changed since then with prices skyrocketing. Government must urgently prioritise a review of the HAP scheme to adapt it to the current pressures experienced by renters.
“Unfortunately the government is failing to think about the practicalities of people at risk of homelessness. For example, government has put a limit on local authorities buying homes. This will have the implication of housing with HAP tenants being sold, forcing people into homelessness. Instead, government must ensure that where socially supported tenants are in situ, councils can get special dispensation to buy these homes and continue to support the people living there. This is a proven homeless prevention measure.
“We are beyond crisis point. Enough is enough. The eviction ban during the pandemic protected people and curtailed the rise of homelessness in this country. No one should be wondering where they will sleep tonight. Government must put in place practical supports to safeguard against this.”