Housing supply

Supply and demand for social housing a constant treadmill

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Clare Sinn Féin TD Violet-Anne Wynne spoke out against the treadmill effect of families in need of social housing and the number of homes being added to the social housing stock.

Deputy Wynne said: ‘There are 3,000 people on the social housing waiting list in Clare. This number has not decreased much for several years. There were 347 homes introduced in the social housing stock in the first 6 months of 2021, while 482 in the year 2020.

“Unsurprisingly, HAP represents the vast majority of the 124,749 solutions delivered between 2016 and 2020 (65%). However, these numbers are not only misleading, they are downright wrong, with more than one in four of these HAP rentals failing or being double counted due to renewal.

In the first quarter of 2021, in Clare alone, the 229 additions to the “social housing” stock – 212 of them were HAP properties. Which means they are fiscally inefficient because rents are likely to skyrocket and they don’t provide security of tenure for tenants, Ms Wynne added.

“Taking the 59,821 active HAP rentals in Q4 2020 and the 61,880 households on public housing waiting lists across the county, that gives a total of 121,701 households. An increase of 30,101 households since 2016 (33%).

While in Clare alone between €2m and €2.5m have been spent on around 400 RAS rentals, this too is a dubious investment as these are equally precarious rentals. They are not permanent homes. They are not long term,” she said.

“If direct construction, or the acquisition of construction by approved housing bodies, is not increased; we will never end the cycle of more families unable to pay rents in the private housing market; the cost of living crises and the threat of homelessness and having nowhere to stay then,” the Clare TD concluded.