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Rent survey shows those on rent supplement being priced out of accommodation- Seán Crowe TD

20 February, 2014 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe has reiterated his call for more social housing to be built following a survey carried out by Dublin South West Sinn Féin which found that 96% of rented accommodation advertised in local areas was above the Social Welfare threshold for rent supplement.

He called for the issue to be tackled head on and said that the long term solution had to involve the increased construction of social housing and required other housing initiatives.

The survey, carried out on the 18th of February, included 77 properties from across Rathcoole, Rathfarnham, Saggart, Tallaght, Templeogue, Greenhills and Walkinstown.

Deputy Crowe said:

"In recent months, the number of individuals and families contacting our constituency office in Tallaght with housing cases has risen dramatically.

"Of the 77 rented properties advertised, 74 houses were above the maximum rent limit guidelines given by the Department of Social Protection.

"Of the three houses which were not over the Social Welfare threshold for rent supplement, two would not take rent supplement while one property would.

"While the numbers that say 'no rent supplement accepted' were 48 (62%), some rents were so far above the threshold, that it could only be interpreted by those on Social Welfare that rent supplement would not be accepted.

"The government needs to move to reduce private rents by starting realistic negotiations with landlords who are being subsidised through rent supplement and RAS by nearly half a billion euro a year.

"They must also start to look for ways to fund a public housing build which will make a significant dent in massive waiting lists. Sinn Féin has shown in our Jobs strategy that in a two-year period, public money could be found to build 9,000 homes starting now.

"The Government should also explore new ideas which they have paid lip service to in the past such as social housing bonds and independent trusts being set up by Local Authorities.

"Before the economic collapse the state was building 4,000-5,000 social housing units every year. Right now this government is building significantly less homes while housing needs are actually much more severe. Over 1 billion Euro has been cut from the housing budget since 2008 but the amount of families in need of social housing has more than doubled.

“This survey of rental accommodation in Dublin South West and its hinterland should be a wake-up call for the Government.

“Accommodation for those on rental supplement is not sufficient and no one but Minister Burton believes it is delivering for families trapped in this dilemma and at a complete loss on how they can accesses housing accommodation.”

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