Housing for social welfare recipients scarce despite rise in number of rental properties, study finds

Just 33 properties were available in December within the limits of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme in major urban areas across the State, the Simon Communities of Ireland has stated.

The homeless charity has been monitoring the availability of housing for social welfare recipients through the HAP scheme in areas where a discretionary rate of HAP applies.

These are areas with the most acute demand for housing that are allowed to pay above the standard rate across the rest of the State for HAP. They include Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford city centres.

The 33 properties within the discretionary rate of HAP is actually an increase of six properties on the previous 27 properties that were available for the previous Locked Out of the Market survey in September.

The report found 1,149 properties were available to rent at any price within the 16 areas over the three dates surveyed in December.

This is a 27 per cent (248 properties) increase from the 901 properties available in the September 2023 Simon Communities Locked Out report.

Just two properties were available within standard HAP rates. Both properties were in Cork city centre. One property was suitable for both a couple/single person with one or two children. The other property was suitable for a couple/single person with two children.

In nine of the 16 areas, there were no HAP properties available to rent in any household category within standard or discretionary HAP limits.

These were Athlone, Cork city suburbs, Galway city centre, Kildare (selected areas), Leitrim, Limerick city suburbs, Limerick city centre, Sligo Town and Portlaoise.

The supply of properties within HAP limits is predominantly in Dublin; 25 (76 per cent) of the total 33 HAP properties were in Dublin.

In Dublin the discretionary rate allows up to an additional 50 per cent on the standard rate; this is limited to

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