How Cork Simon’s Social Rentals model of housing can help address the housing crisis in Cork.

The Context

Cork Simon Community’s Social Rentals (CSSR) housing model emerged towards the end of 2012 in response to a looming housing and homeless crisis.

Emergency shelters in the city were full and overcrowded, the number of people sleeping rough and surviving in squats was on the rise.

Our Soup Run was supporting more and more people in private rented housing – people who had little left for food after struggling to meet rising rents in an effort to hold on to their homes.

On the housing front, reduced investment in social housing meant it could not meet growing needs causing an increased reliance on the private rental market - but supply of rental properties was falling, while rents were rising rapidly.

With increasing competition in the private rental market and rent supplement caps falling far short of rental asking prices, people working to exit homelessness were virtually excluded from the private rental market. They were finding themselves stuck in emergency accommodation or with no option but to sleep rough or survive in squats.

Our Social Rentals model was part of a range of measures we introduced in 2012 in response to the emerging crisis.

The Social Rentals Model

The model is simple: we lease properties directly from the private rental sector and sub-let them to people who are homeless at rates within the Rent Supplement cap where necessary. Using our own resources, we fund the difference between the tenants’ Rent Supplement Cap and the market rent. We also maintain the property.

The Outcomes

89% of people were still housed come 01 August 2015 (63% of people were housed continuously and 26% experienced a break in their housing and were housed again by 01 August 2015) while 11% were back in emergency accommodation come 01 August 2015.

Among those that were housed continuously, 75% required a lower level of support come 01 August 2015 compared to their move-in level of support.

Through the model, 10 beds were freed-up across homeless emergency and housing services in Cork city.

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