If you identify as either a lone parent, migrant, or a member of a traveling community then you are at greater risk of homelessness according to Focus Ireland. Focus Ireland conducted a report examining the drivers of family homelessness in Dublin. The overarching idea was many families are being evicted from private rental properties and unable to find another place to live causing homelessness. Many of these families have a long history with residing in the same apartment and should not be threatened with homelessness due to the rising property prices and shortage of availability.
Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy at Focus Ireland, appeared on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland to discuss his companies recent report. He was quoted saying, “the vast majority of the families surveyed had been living in the private rental sector without any problem until the crisis came along.” Mike Allen has witnessed an increase in many property owners exiting the rental market especially those that are offering more affordable properties to rent. This is one of the many reasons contributing to the growing numbers of homelessness in and around Dublin.
An idea that Mike Allen was challenging in his report was the false claim that people are openly denying HAP properties, which he dispels of with statistical evidence. Of the 237 families that Focus Ireland surveyed in their study, 75 percent of them were looking for HAP properties. In addition, two-thirds of the families searching for HAP properties visited more than twenty properties. Mike Allen remarked to above mentioned statistics by saying, “So they went to look at the property, but they weren’t accepted. So, people talk about families not taking up HAP, but that’s not the picture at all.”
An interesting statistic that was discovered through the participants was the number of people who actually received HAP. Of the 170 participants in the study that were actively looking for HAP accommodations only 13 or five percent are currently living in HAP accommodations. Based on this study and the rising house prices and homelessness rates, HAP needs to be more readily available for those who need a safety net for the time being. Looking into people’s rental and income histories should be a tool for deciding if they should receive HAP. While wages continue to slowly increase, the housing market is becoming more expensive at a faster rate causing families to continually struggle to make ends meet and or will have to re-locate. Massive multinational cooperation’s continue to bring in many workers immigrating to Ireland and making the housing market very unbalanced and not affordable for local families.