News & Media

Reliance on HAP shows the State is failing on social housing

18 November 2020

Statement by Senator Rebecca Moynihan
Spokesperson on Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Rebecca

The reliance on HAP Shows the State is failing on social housing according to Labour Housing Spokesperson, Senator Rebecca Moynihan.

Senator Moynihan was speaking after the publication of an analysis by the Central Statistics Office on the HAP scheme.

Senator Moynihan said:

“The findings of this CSO Report show that we are failing on social housing as the number of households in HAP has risen every year since the scheme started in 2014 and stood at 57,630 by 2019 and the proportion of new HAP households who have been referred from homeless services rose steadily from 3.1% in 2014 to 21.1% by 2019.

“While initially introduced as an emergency payment the Government have over relied on HAP as the main provider of social housing for several years now and we need to see a shift change in policy towards local authority direct build social housing. Too many renters are trapped in a vicious circle between HAP tenancies and homeless services and this survey confirms what we all know anecdotally that many of the people who come into homelessness through the private rental sector are pushed back into that market again through the HAP system.

“The people working in sectors most impacted by COVID are also the people dependent on the HAP payment for housing with wholesale and the retail trade accounting for 19% of working HAP tenants. The next highest was accommodation and food services at 16%. The least common employment sectors for tenants starting HAP in 2019 included Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing, Information & Communication, and Public Administration & Defence.

“This shows needs to extend the current eviction ban well beyond early next year until we can ensure a proper supply of social housing. While this week’s vaccine news is encouraging, it is likely that Covid will remain with us for the medium-term future and unless the eviction ban is extended, we will be facing into a period of evictions and infections.

“The States dependence on the HAP system for housing shows we are failing on social housing. Unless we see a change of approach from this Government the HAP numbers will continue to spiral out of control. We need to fund local authorities to directly build social housing.