With Budget 2020 to be announced on Tuesday 8 October, we are taking a look at some of the proposals outlined in our Pre-Budget Submission.
If we are to solve homelessness prevention is key, and we have suggested a number of measures to stop people from becoming homeless in the first instance.
We want to see tenants in the private rental sector protected if landlords decide to sell their property. In particular we want to see tenants in receipt of HAP, Rent Supplement or RAS protect because they are the households most at risk of homelessness if they lose their accommodation. They are also most likely to be in rental accommodation provided by small-scale landlords who are already exiting the rental system and selling properties with vacant possession.
Our proposal is to give a tax benefit to landlords of social tenants, who, if they decide to sell their property, leave tenants in situ and sell the property to a social housing provider or a local authority.
This would allow the landlord to exit or retire from the sector, while also protecting tenants from becoming homelessness.
Such a measure would also lessen churn and competition in the private rental sector and facilitate a shift from short or long term leasing from the private sector to a more traditional and sustainable model of social housing provision.
Mortgage to rent
We want to see an end to the issue of long term mortgage arrears to prevent former homeowners from becoming at risk of homelessness.
In 2019, the number of residential mortgages in arrears of two years or more actually increased. As of April 2019, there were 40,234 mortgages linked to Private Dwelling Homes (PDH) and Buy To Let (BTL) properties in arrears of two years of more. A conservative figure, based on the average household size, is that they represent the homes of 100,000 people.
As a first step, we propose that the thresholds for the mortgage-to-rent scheme be increased to €50,000 to enable more households to qualify for the scheme.
Education is a key when it comes to preventing homelessness. We want to see improved supports for those impacted by homelessness and growing up in the State care system, so that these children do not become the homeless adults of the future.
We believe that investing in a better and fairer education system can play a huge part in reducing the risk of people becoming homeless and thus enable Irish society to reduce homelessness in the long term.
Leading on from our call for improved education supports, we are also calling for tailored and intensive pathways to employment for vulnerable groups.
Though Ireland is currently in a very fortunate position of near full employment, there are many people for whom employment remains only a distant idea.
We want new initiatives to be funded to support more people from particularly vulnerable groups, such as homeless youth and recipients of the Housing First programme, to secure and sustain employment opportunities. This in turn will prevent future generations from experiencing homelessness.
Read our Pre Budget Submission in full here