21/05/2014

New Rent Scheme 'Will Result In Social Disaster'

A new scheme introduced to replace rent supplement "will result in social disaster", the Leader of the Fianna Fáil Group on Dublin City Council, Councillor Mary Fitzpatrick has said.

"A provision in the new Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), which replaces the old rent supplement, will see families with short-term rental support removed entirely from the social housing waiting list," she explained.

"Under the new rules people who are in short-term rental arrangements will be deemed to have their housing needs met. Similarly, people in short term schemes like the Rental Accommodation Scheme with 5-year tenancies will also be removed from social housing waiting lists."

She continued: "This is a deliberate attempt by the Government to manipulate the figures and so hide their complete failure to address the housing crisis. 

"It will serve only to misrepresent the real situation; it will create a false picture of Dublin's growing housing crisis as waiting lists will not reflect the gravity of the crisis with thousands of people without a permanent home no longer being recorded in official figures.

"People in Dublin, young families, will be forced to take their names off social housing lists in order to qualify for short-term rental supports, a move that could realistically drive these vulnerable people into homelessness. This would have a huge impact on these people, their extended families and society. 

"To put this situation into real terms, today there are 20,000 people on Dublin City Council's social housing list – this list is growing daily. It is obvious that we need to retain a clear and accurate account of those in need of accommodation, whether short-term or longer terms – and accommodation needs to be provided with urgency to those in need."

(MH/JP)

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