Sinn Féin spokesperson on
housing, Dessie Ellis TD, has condemned raising of the government for cutting
Rent Supplement for couples in the 2014 Budget. The cut which comes in the form
of a rise in the minimum contribution for couples by €5 on top of previous similar cuts will, Ellis says, put many people in great difficulty as rents rise due to a shortage of rental
“A cut to rent supplement, through a rise in the minimum contribution in 2011, led to people being made homeless, unable to afford their accommodation because of steadily rising rents. Focus Ireland reported that they had worked with many people who had either lost their home or were struggling week to week to hold on in the year that followed this move.
“Housing has seen massive cuts over the last five years with 1 billion euro being slashed from the overall budget. This budget cuts housing again by 10%. Homelessness is at an all-time high and any move like this as rents continue to rise is very dangerous and irresponsible.
“The government, through cuts like this, is putting people in danger of homelessness. Many people on rent supplement are struggling, far too many are making illegal extra payments to landlords who are putting them under pressure. “These couples are vulnerable to exploitation and the government is taking advantage this to make up the numbers in their austerity budget.
“We need a properly organised rent supplement system which will negotiate fair rents with landlords from a point of strength through local authorities. The government refuses to house people properly and perpetuates the poverty trap in the rent supplement system blocking people from work. Now they won't even take the care required to ensure that couple in the system do not lose their homes.”