Sinn Fein TD for Meath West Johnny Guirke has called on Meath County Council to review HAP rates following the publication of ESRI Report on Low Income Renters and Housing Supports
He told Meath Live, ‘A new report from the ESRI has shown that renters in Meath in receipt of the Housing Assistance Payment or the Rental Accommodation Scheme pay more than anyone else in the country.
‘There are 2,210 HAP Tenants and 368 RAS tenants in County Meath. This equates to Meath County Council paying out €21.5 Million to private landlords.
‘A total of €626 million was paid out for 294,000 tenants in 2021, this figure increasing from €579 million in 2020.
‘Meath households are hit the hardest, a lone parent with two children will pay €450 per month, double the amount of South Dublin, with a lone parent with two children paying €226.
‘It’s time the Department of Housing and local Government reviewed HAP and RAS thresholds, as ordinary working families are living in poverty.
‘The state support system should reflect the current rental markets, which as we know doesn’t go anywhere near to helping struggling families.
‘The long term solution is to build homes which will take many of these families off the state supports bill, as we currently pay over half a billion now to private landlords.
‘Meath is not covered by rent pressure zones, which allows for private landlords exploiting an already hot rental market.
‘A single minimum wage earner in a family is paying the highest across all Local Authorities, paying €326 per month compared to the lowest across LA’s in South Dublin who in comparison pay €168.
‘The price difference for low income earners in County Meath compared to all other local authorities is alarming.
‘We need to see a rise in upper HAP limits and income evaluations, which will at least help some families live a little bit better than they are currently doing.
‘The last HAP limit change came back in 2017 and given the rise in rental markets it should be reviewed every two to three years.
‘Income limits has not been changed in over ten years, the last was 2011.
‘If these rent limits were increased, it would certainly help many low income families deal with the current crises for Electricity, Fuel, Food which many households find themselves in.’