Move on HAP scheme welcome but no substitute for building homes
Following months of campaigning for the revision of the HAP scheme, Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan has welcomed the announcement of changes to the scheme.
Senator Moynihan said:
“People are struggling and renters in particular are experiencing the hard end of the increased cost of living. Rents have soared over the last five years so the announcement of a change to the HAP scheme is hugely welcome. Hard pressed families will be relieved with this news and it is particularly welcome to see attention given to the over 400,000 people who live alone in Ireland. Single people have been particularly impacted by the housing policy failure and this is a welcome break for them.
“There are a number of renters on low incomes who aren’t receiving social supports yet are struggling to keep a roof over their head. The Minister must urgently progress the implementation of the Income Eligibility Scheme as laid out in the Housing for All plan and ensure that we revisit the income limits to qualify for social housing.
“While we await the full detail of the proposals from the Department on what the actual discretionary limits will be, we hope that targeted measures like this will help rents caught in the private rental market until more supply comes on stream.
“Government has capacity to do this. The Housing Department’s capital spending is €120 million or 21% below its profile. So while changes to the HAP limits are welcome, it is no substitute for building homes.
“The unfortunate reality is that there is a fundamental lack of supply in the housing market. We need government to increase investment in cost rental properties and social and affordable housing. While we wait for more stock to come onto the market, targeted and time limited measures like a rent freeze must be considered by government to protect all renters.”