Council rent subsidies look to exceed €102m this year
RENT subsidies from South Dublin County Council are set to exceed €102 million this year and are emblematic of a “failure to deliver social and affordable homes”, according to a councillor.
It shows a marked increase on the council’s spending on rental subsidies, including the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and the Rental Assistance Scheme (RAS), in previous years.
The local authority spent €72m on rent subsidies in 2019, €81m in 2020 and €95m in 2021, with Sinn Féin councillor for Palmerstown-Fonthill, Derren Ó Brádaigh, stating that an over-reliance on HAP is exacerbating the issue.
Cllr Ó Brádaigh said: “The failure of government to deliver social and affordable homes amid an escalating housing crisis will cost South Dublin County Council and the taxpayer more than €100m to cover HAP, RAS and private leasing in 2022 alone.
“The absence of sufficient accommodation for ordinary families and workers has led to a very worrying over-reliance on the private rental sector.
“Rental assistance total spends by SDCC are increasing dramatically every year – €72m in 2019, €81m in 2020, €95m in 2021, with the total subsidies set to exceed €102m for this current year.
“The biggest area of expenditure within these figures is on the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).
“Over-dependence on HAP is not only bad for the tenant, but it is also poor value for money for the exchequer and has, in my view, diluted the urgency we need directed toward the building of large-scale social and affordable housing developments.
“Since the introduction of HAP in 2014, Government has spent almost €2.5 billion across the State on this scheme, with €1bn of this spent in the last two years alone.
“This figure is continuing to rise every year and illustrates the abject failure of those in charge of the purse strings to prioritise investment and provide for those in need of much-awaited homes.
“The present situation is simply unsustainable and is ultimately dead money. We need to see significant increases in real social housing targets and delivery in the immediate future.”