Housing shortage in The Liberties

By Jack Maguire

Homelessness is a rising problem in the Liberties and Dublin in particular, with no sign of any solution since the census results were released in August.

Image: Ray Cooke Auctioneers









As of the results, there were 6,906 homeless people registered in Ireland on the night of the census (April 2016) with 5,009 of these registered in Dublin.

The average age of these were 31. A total of 1,846 were under the age of 18 and 43% of the total figure were made up of either couples or families.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to tackle the homeless problem due to the lack of properties available for sale or rent in the Liberties.

As of the date of writing, there were 18 homes available for rent in the Liberties. There were 53 available for sale, but many if not all of these would be out of reach of those who are currently residing on the streets.

Many of those homeless in the area are in the position to avail of the Homeless Assistance Payment (HAP), a scheme where the Dublin City Council will pay the majority if not all of the rent for the applicant. The problem however is finding homes available for those on the HAP.

Conor Clarke, a senior negotiator with Ray Cooke Auctioneers who has dealt with numerous properties within the Liberties and Dublin 8, believes it is becoming increasingly difficult for HAP applicants to find homes.

“Demand is exceeding supply and as a result we are seeing more and more people coming to viewings. There is a particular demand in The Liberties and Dublin 8, with a lot of HAP applicants missing out primarily to working professionals, couples or families.

There is no quick fix for HAP applicants or those on the street. We could have over 200 emails for a property and a quarter of those could come to a viewing.  Only one group can get a property and the rest are fed back into the market. The demand in The Liberties seems to be sky high at present.”

Earlier this year the government and housing minister Eoghan Murphy introduced the Draft of Ireland 2040 plan, which aims to tackle the homeless crisis as the construction of 550,000 homes is planned in the next 20+ years.

Jimmy Smyth, a resident of the Liberties for over 30 years, has noticed a particular rise in those on the streets around Dublin and The Liberties in the last number of years.

“There seems to be more people living on the streets as the days go on. Something needs to be done before homelessness becomes out of control.”

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