Focus Ireland Strongly Welcomes Government Announcement To Increase Rent Supplement
Focus Ireland has strongly welcomed the Cabinet’s announcement today that it will increase rent supplement levels and has highlighted that it is an essential emergency response to help prevent more people from losing their home but the charity noted that it will only be able to fully assess the initiative in the context of the government’s Housing Plan which will be launched in the coming weeks.
Focus Ireland highlighted that increasing rent supplement payments by between 15% and 30% will help keep people in their existing homes but warned that because the issue of rent supplement has been neglected for so long that even this substantial move may not match market rents in parts of Dublin and other cities.
Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said, “Focus Ireland have been calling for an increase in rent supplement for years and we have continuously highlighted that rising rent is one of the leading reasons families and individuals are losing their homes and becoming homeless. 2 to 3 families are becoming homeless every single day and increasing rent supplement will help stem the flow of people entering homelessness while we wait for the long term solutions to kick in. We welcome the move to increase rent supplement and this is a very positive step, however it is important to highlight that this is just one short-term measure to help tackle the crisis and is not the full solution. Increasing rent supplement has to be part of an overall package to address the crisis which now sees over 6,000 people without a home.”
Focus Ireland also called for the issue of landlords refusing to accept rent supplement to be addressed. The charity said that despite it being illegal for landlords to refuse rent supplement, some landlords still won’t accept the payment.
Focus Ireland stressed that more rigorous policing of this issue must be carried out and highlighted the importance that families who experience discrimination in the private rented sector have access to a prompt and effective complaints mechanism. The charity called on the Workplace Relations Commission to publish guidance on how individuals can engage with these services.
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