Majority believe government failing to tackle housing crisis

The majority of people in Ireland believe the government isn't doing enough to solve the housing crisis - according to a new report from the Simon Community.

The report - released this morning - shows that 75% of people believe the government is failing to address rising rents, while 70% believe authorities are not doing enough to protect renters.

It found that 72% are “really concerned” about the rising rates of homelessness as a result of rising rents and reducing supply.

Simon Community spokesperson Niamh Randall said the findings illustrate that public opinion is ahead of political opinion – demonstrating the real urgency on the ground:

“I think clearly looking at these results we see how deeply distressed and worried people are around the country,” she said.

“With 79% of people in the private rented sector clearly concerned about the impact of rising rents and reducing supply and people becoming homeless.

“People see how urgent this is. I think we have no choice but to address this issue in the immediate term, we need to keep people in the homes that they have; we have to stop the flow into homelessness.”

The report has been released as part of the Simon Community’s ‘Locked out of the Market’ campaign.

Ms Randall said 63% of the people responding to the survey said the government needs to do more to stop landlords from significantly raising rents.

She warned that the issue must remain a top priority for government and for the incoming Taoiseach at the start of June.

“Ireland’s private rented market is clearly not working,” she said. “People who rent have very little security and can face increases in rent that they cannot meet."

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

Nearly 7,500 people are currently homeless in Ireland according to government figures – the highest figure ever recorded in Ireland.

Meanwhile there has been a 35% increase in rough sleepers in Dublin since last year.

The Locked Out of the Market campaign has seen people sharing their stories across social media with the hashtag #simonlockedout.

The homelessness charity has called for three “common sense solutions.”

Increase, monitor and adjust Rent Supplement/HAP payments regularly.

Ms Randall said rental payments “must keep pace with market rents or they become ineffective, as is currently the case.”

“The Government’s plan for Rebuilding Ireland is welcome but moving far too slowly,” she said. “In the absence of sufficient supply of social housing, the private rented sector is not capable of delivering the housing needed to respond to the homeless crisis given the sheer scale.”

“Housing should not be a commodity.

“We need whole of Government support to ensure that everyone has a safe, secure and affordable home and renting must not be a barrier to this.”

The Simon Communities deliver supports and services to over 8,300 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness every year.

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