06 Jul 2022

More than half of people renting are in need of State support

More than half of people renting are in need of State support

Over half of renting households receive State support to help them meet their housing costs, according to research released by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

The new study found that as many as 293,673 households received assistance to help them meet their rent.

This amounts to 16% of households overall and 54% of those renting. This figure is more than double the number in receipt of equivalent housing supports in 1994.

The ESRI noted that the qualification criteria for housing supports have become more restrictive in recent years.

It added that both direct and indirect supports do a huge amount to improve affordability for the households receiving them.

The ESRI said there are questions about how well targeted these housing supports are: many low-income renters receive no support for their housing costs and face high rent-to-income ratios, while almost one-in-five (16.7 per cent) of supported renters are in the top half of the income distribution.

Barra Roantree, one of the authors of the report, said: “The size of the supported rental sector has grown significantly in recent decades, with more of this support now provided indirectly through schemes like HAP. While both direct and indirect supports greatly improve affordability for households, our finding that almost one-in-five supported renters are in the top half of the income distribution raises questions about how well targeted these supports are.”

Responding to the ESRI report published this morning Labour finance spokesperson Ged Nash said the government must revise the HAP limits in light of the current cost of living crisis. Deputy Nash said rather than words of sympathy, it’s time for real action from government for renters and those feeling the brunt of the housing crisis.

"The report published by the ESRI makes for stark reading and it’s clear that structural changes need to occur to support people trapped in a toxic private rental market," he said.

"Labour has long called for the limits of the HAP scheme to be revised in light of the cost of living crisis. Indeed, the scheme has not been updated since 2017 and we are all too aware of the explosion in the cost of renting in the past five years.

“From the report published this morning it’s clear that there are a number of low income renters who aren’t receiving social support and these are the group for whom housing affordability is challenging.

"We need to see targeted measures from government like an expansion of the Income Eligibility Scheme promised in the government’s Housing for All plan. While this has been marked as complete in the progress report, it is only complete because it was brought to the Minister’s table. The reality is that this has been sitting on the Minister’s desk gathering dust. The Minister needs to make a move on this now," Deputy Nash said. 

To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.