Two Sinn Féin Councillors have expressed their frustration and growing concern at the increasingly long time periods involved in processing social housing and HAP applications through South Dublin County Council.
Derren Ó Brádaigh, a Dublin Mid-West Councillor covering the local electoral area for Lucan-Palmerstown-Fonthill said; “The housing assistance payment has not and will not offer any long-term solution to the prolonged housing crisis in which so many people have come to depend and without any real future security of tenure – we need viable long term sustainable and cost-effective housing solutions and that means building a lot more homes that are both accessible and affordable to the average everyday person. It would seem to me that the only ones that fail to recognise this are those in government and holding the purse strings.
“Evidenced from recent responses to representations being made on behalf of constituents, the processing of HAP applications has essentially ‘doubled’ in waiting time from approximately 4-6 weeks to 8-10 weeks since April of this year. In order to be eligible for HAP, applicants must have first completed and then been accepted onto the housing list itself – this taking up to 12 weeks.
“For individuals or entire families finding themselves at a sudden or imminent housing need, this effectively means 6 months of delay and bureaucracy before they are accepted for housing supports, let alone even beginning the daunting alternative home search amidst a housing crisis and while often trying to balance family life and a job at the same time!
Councillor William Carey from neighbouring Clondalkin/Newcastle/Rathcoole LEA added “The bureaucracy involved in the system of registering shows a total lack of respect for those people who find themselves in need of housing support. These delays add to the trauma that people go through when they find themselves in need of support and this adds unnecessary stress particularly upon young families unable to find a property within their price range in an ever decreasing market place. Cllr Carey continued, if you add to this the failure of the government to raise the upper earning limits of 35K (single) and 38k (family) then people are being squeezed out of qualifying for housing support and unable to afford entering the private rental market.”