Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O’Brien TD has today criticised the introduction of the Housing Assistance Payment saying that it is condemning families to a future of insecurity.
Speaking during Leaders Questions today in the Dáil, Deputy O’Brien said:
“The Housing Assistance Payment is the most profound change to social housing policy in a generation.
“It not only changes the way in which people will receive rent support – it transfers responsibility for meeting people’s housing need to the private sector on a scale never seen before.
“People who have been receiving rent supplement for 18 months or more will be transferred to this new payment.
“As a result they will be removed from the housing list.
“There are 79,000 households in receipt of rent supplement.
“50,000 of these have been getting the payment for more than 18 months.
“The overwhelming majority of these people are on Council waiting lists.
“Fine Gael and Labour are condemning these families to a future of insecurity and denying them a real home.
“They will be at the mercy of the market – unable to put down roots, forced to change schools, sports clubs and unable to establish long term links with their community.”
“This will have an enormous impact on already vulnerable families and the Government must reverse this unfair and unworkable policy.”
Deputy O’Brien highlighted the instability of removing families from a housing list to a transfer list saying:
“The suggestion that placing a family on a transfer list in any way compensates for their removal from the housing list shows just how out of touch you and your colleagues are.
“Being on the housing list means that you have a recognised housing need.
“The transfer list is for those whose housing need is met and who would like to move.
“On many Councils the transfer list is restricted to those who are overcrowded or who have specific medical need.
“Some Councils don’t even operate a transfer list.
“This needs to change and has not been properly thought through.”