Galway Simon Community has described as ‘shocking’ the fact that the rental market isn’t a solution for many relying on housing supports.
According to a recent report, the rental market in Galway is inaccessible for people on housing benefits as the gap between housing supports and market rent prices continues to increase.
In the most recent study in the Locked Out of the Market series, the results in Galway City showed that there was not one property available within the Rent Supplement/HAP limits across the four categories; single person, couple, couple/parent with 1 child, couple/parent with 2 children.
This has also been criticised by opposition parties who say that this situation is unacceptable.
An average of 15 properties were available to rent in Galway City during the three-day study period.
The snapshot study, ‘Locked Out of the Market X: The Gap between Rent Supplement/HAP Limits and Market Rents X’ was conducted by the Simon Communities over three days – 13th, 14th and 15th of February this year.
Since the first study was carried out in May 2015, only 26 properties have been found to be within the housing support limits in Galway over ten studies across nearly a three-year period.
The average rent recorded for a two-bedroom property in Galway has climbed from €1,200 in the August 2015 study to €1,513 in this most recent study, an increase of 26%.
Karen Golden, CEO of Galway Simon Community said it is shocking that the rental market isn’t a solution for many relying on housing supports.
“For many of the people we support, and many others on middle and low incomes, buying a home is completely out of reach and social housing in Galway is extremely scarce so their only option is the private rental market but even the rental market can’t cater for their needs.
The latest results from the Locked Out of the Market study are not surprising and the results mirror the previous two studies that were conducted; with not one property available to rent within the housing support limits,”, Karen said.
“At any one time, we house up to 97 people in our services and many of these people are ready to move on to living in their own independent accommodation but unfortunately the rate of move-on is slow due to the lack of affordable housing available in Galway.
It’s a very competitive market out there and when rents are almost double housing support limits in some cases, those relying on the these state supports have no chance.
In addition, rents have continued to rise with increases of 12.4% in Galway City and 14.1% in Galway County, pushing an affordable home further beyond the reach of so many.”
“What it comes down to is affordable housing supply, we need more of it and fast. The Local Authorities are working proactively under the Rebuilding Ireland Plan but even at the level they are starting to build right now, it isn’t near enough to start dealing with Galway’s housing crisis,” Karen added.
Karen ended by saying with the absence of affordable housing, prevention needs to be the focus.
“This is why we have such a huge focus on homelessness prevention at Galway Simon. Our homelessness prevention services work to prevent people from having to leave the homes they already have and from having to access emergency accommodation.
Early intervention and prevention is key to stopping the flow of people into homelessness and it will remain our focus going forward,” said Karen.