There was only one property available through the HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) scheme available in Waterford, according to a new report.
The Simon Communities of Ireland published their latest ‘Locked Out’ report, surveying the availability of properties via the HAP scheme across 16 local authorities.
HAP is a social housing support for long term tenants, and is paid by the local authorities directly to landlords.
The report starkly revealed how few properties adhere to the limits of the HAP scheme, with only 33 properties available across the target areas.
Landlords can not refuse to let out properties to prospective tenants who are using the HAP scheme.
In Waterford City, only one property was available through the discretionary terms of the scheme.
Executive Director at the Simon Communities of Ireland Wayne Stanley said: “The Locked Out reports continue to show the dearth of options for those experiencing homelessness in the private rental market. While there was a small increase in availability in December 2023, it is clear the private rental market is not a sustainable option for the vast majority of people experiencing homelessness.”
In November 2023, a reported 13,514 people were classed as homeless and reliant on emergency homelessness services, according to Focus Ireland.
Mr Stanley stressed the gravity of the situation and its impact on the homeless crisis: “The solution is well understood; it is more social housing. The scale of the homeless crisis in front of us requires immediate action from Government. In the short term, the Minister could increase the HAP rates to ensure that more properties become a viable option on a HAP payment.”
He added: “Government can work with local authorities to see a more targeted use of the allocations from local authorities. Also, progressing the Simon Homeless Prevention Bill would support local