Wednesday 24th August 2016: Galway Simon Community have responded to the latest figures from the Daft.ie 2016 Q2 Rental Report saying that the rent crisis is reflected by the increase in referrals they have had in the first half of the year. The homeless charity said the market is showing no sign of slowing down, despite rent stability measures that were introduced last year.

The report shows that rents in Galway have reached an all-time high with a rise of 13.9% compared to a year previously. According to the latest figures, the average rent in Galway has risen to €932 in the city and to €631 in the rest of the county.

Bill Griffin, CEO of Galway Simon Community, said the Government must look at prioritising the proposed Strategy for the Private Rental Sector to prevent more people from becoming homeless. “The latest figures released by Daft.ie only reinforce the fact that the housing crisis is showing no sign of abiding. A lot of the people who are finding themselves homeless are coming from the private rental sector,” he said.

“In the first six months of the year, we worked with 407 households, that’s an increase of 90% compared to the same period last year. Even with the rent stability measures that were introduced in November 2015, people are still struggling to keep their heads above water. The reality is that people can’t afford these rising rents, especially in the case where people are relying on Rent Supplement or Housing Assistance Payments [HAP].

“We welcome the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness and its commitment to the Private Rental Strategy; however, the strategy must include full rent certainty in order to prevent more people from becoming homeless. Those who are renting their homes need to have the security of knowing that their rents are in line with real market rates and index linked, for example, to the Consumer Price Index [CPI]. It’s also important that Rent Supplement and HAP limits are monitored to ensure that they are increased and kept in line with market rents.”

The local homeless charity is currently working with over 200 people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Their work focuses on preventing people from becoming homeless by trying to keep people in their own homes and they also have a range of housing for those who are without a home.