Threshold has predicted a “catastrophic” winter ahead for tenants and homeless people after government failed to include any of the measures included in its pre-Budget submission.
Galway city is set for a “bleak” winter period with the accommodation crisis set to worsen according to a spokesperson for the housing charity.
Western Regional Services Manager for Threshold Karina Timothy said measures introduced by government in Budget 2023 fall short of what’s needed to support tenants.
“We were looking for something substantial to help renters. You have to be working to claim the €500 [renter’s tax credit] and it’s only €500. It amounts to very, very little.”
The average price of renting a single room in Galway city is €588, meaning the tax credit fails to cover even a month’s rent for the average renter.
She said a similar tax credit in 2010 was €400 but pointed out that rents have more than doubled since then.
“You’re also ineligible for this tax credit if you’re in receipt of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). The reality is that HAP caps don’t meet rents as it is and tenants are topping it up out of their own income.”
Ms Timothy was also critical of the Vacant Property Tax, saying it isn’t being enforced and can be easily skirted as it only applies to properties deemed habitable.
She said freezes on rent increases and evictions similar to those in place during Covid lockdowns would offer short-term relief for people who are struggling.
The long-term problem of an insufficient of housing continues to loom and “not enough” is being done to tackle this pressing issue.
“Supply is definitely short. Not only are annual targets for new builds not being met, they’re not high enough to begin with.
“We have people on waiting lists for emergency accommodation. You have to ask, could Local Authority housing not be turned around quicker so that we can actually use these properties to house people?,” she said.