National housing charity Threshold welcomes the increased €22 million allocation to tackle homelessness in Budget 2021. We understand it is the Government’s intention to increase funding for homeless prevention which would be very welcome. Preventing homelessness before it occurs is the first response to tackling the homeless crisis. Threshold prevents thousands of households from losing their home in the private rented sector each year. With this allocation the Government is showing its commitment to solving the homeless crisis.
Threshold last month called on Government to increase its housing construction to tackle the housing and affordability crisis in the private rented sector. We welcome the commitment to build 9,500 social homes next year. We hope this will be ramped up year on year to future proof our housing supply.
Speaking in response to today’s Budget announcements, Chairperson of Threshold Aideen Hayden said: “The additional resources for social housing construction are to be very much welcomed as it has been clear for some time that vulnerable families require permanent and secure homes. It is particularly welcome that the Department of Housing has secured finance for an affordable housing package. Threshold has increasingly seen working families at risk of losing their homes. Fifty-nine percent of Threshold’s clients this year were working but still had problems keeping their homes.”
Measures to support those who lost their income as a result of COVID-19 restrictions are welcome but the danger of rent arrears remains. Threshold believes it is important for Government to consider a package of supports for private renters in danger of arrears. The response by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in respect of rent supplement provision is very welcome and we wish to see such an approach embedded in the system.
CEO of Threshold John-Mark McCafferty stated “Specific allocation to cost-rental housing is welcome. Scale and speed are key in making cost-rental affordable for tenants on modest incomes, by setting rents and supports to facilitate ability to pay.”
He went on to say “It is important that the allocation for affordable purchase empowers single people, working families, those ineligible for social housing and those whose income is insufficient to access mortgage finance to purchase their own home.”
Of the almost €35 million available for residential energy efficiency upgrades, it is unclear how much of this will be targeted at homes in the private rented sector. We look forward to seeing the details of the schemes that this will fund and hope that private rented homes will be targeted as part of such schemes.