Focus Ireland Calls On The New Government to Increase Rent Supplement As Rents Continue To Soar
As the latest Daft.ie Rental Report shows rents continue to soar around the country, Focus Ireland have warned that the housing and homeless crisis will continue to deepen unless the new government takes urgent action to increase rent supplement levels and regulate rents.
The housing and homeless charity is calling for an immediate increase in rent supplement to close the rising gap between the payment and actual rents to prevent more families and individuals from becoming homeless, it comes as Daft.ie report that rental levels continue to rocket nationwide. Rents in the capital are up 8.8 % on 2015 levels, rents in Cork city have shot up by 16% while rents in Waterford and Limerick have also risen in the past 12 months.
The Department of Social Protection has not increased the maximum level that households on Rent Supplement can pay for their accommodation since June 2013, forcing thousands of households into debt as they pay illicit ‘top-ups’ to their landlords or face losing their homes.
Director of Advocacy at Focus Ireland Mike Allen said, “Between 80 and 90 families are losing their homes every month in Dublin alone and the key reason triggering homelessness is that they can’t afford the rent rises that have already been imposed upon them. If the new government is serious about tackling the homeless and housing crisis, immediate action must be taken to link rent rises to the rate of inflation and raise rent supplement so it reflects market rents as this will help to keep families and individuals in their current homes and prevent them from becoming homeless. While the proposed 15% increase in rent supplement agreed between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael is welcome, Focus Ireland have warned that these latest rental figures show that it falls far behind meeting market realities. It is simply too little too late and the Government needs to face up to the scale of the problem that hundreds of families face.”
We recognise that increasing rent supplement and curbing rents are not the long-term solution to our housing crisis, but they are the essential emergency responses to prevent the situation spiralling out of control while the long-term solutions kick in.
Focus Ireland figures show that nearly 300 families with 600 children became homeless in the first 3 months of this year alone in Dublin. The charity said the situation is getting worse nationwide at the most recent figures found over 900 families and nearly 2000 children homeless across the country. The charity said that while its service had managed to secure a new home for one family a day, three more families become homeless every day, so that the crisis continues to deepen.
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