The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) represents the most fundamental change in housing policy since the foundation of the state and there is no discussion of same.
At last night’s City Council meeting it was confirmed in the latest Housing Quarterly Report that there are now 4,583 households on the housing waiting list which is 108 households extra in three months more than one household added per day.
In addition there are 600 households on either the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) or Long Term Leasing Scheme whose names have been taken off the list.
All together the figures confirm that there are at least 15,000 people on the waiting list, some households on the wo bed-roomed list waiting since 2000.
Moreover Housing Officials confirmed again that not only have they not constructed one single local authority house since 2009 but that they have sanction to construct only 14 housing units which will begin next year!
Further confirmation was given that it is Government policy that the new Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is the only game in town-that is a payment to assist a housing applicant pay the rent in a private house and most significantly that household is then removed from the housing list.
In view Government is utterly failing to understand the nature and extent of the housing crisis or they remain foolishly and irrationally convinced that the market will provide.
In this regard it is worth highlighting that a spokesman from Threshold confirmed on local radio today that housing applicants are finding it almost impossible to find a landlord that will accept rent supplement and further that the Daft website for Galway showed only 75 properties available for rent! A commitment to an urgent social housing construction programme from the Government is absolutely essential. Anything else is rhetoric.