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Study confirms rent supplement restrictions causing hardship

27 September, 2004

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD, has today said that 'restrictions on rent supplements are, as predicted, causing hardship.' Deputy Morgan was responding to a study commissioned by the social care agency CentreCare, and carried out by the Dublin Institute of Technology, which found that rent supplement restrictions were causing major hardship to many people.

Speaking today, Deputy Morgan said:

"Sinn Féin warned of the implications of the restrictions on rent supplement when the measures were announced. Senior officials in the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs had expressed concerns that the restrictions of rent supplement to those who had been in private rented accommodation for six months would cause homelessness. The study commissioned by Centrecare clearly shows that those changes along with the cap on rents under the scheme are causing hardship for those in need of housing assistance.

"Many, if not all of the people in receipt of rent supplement should be entitled to access to social housing and it is disgrace that because of the decline in social rental housing stock in recent years they are not receiving the housing assistance which they should be entitled to. It is Sinn Féin's position that the only way this element of the housing crisis can be solved is by increasing the stock of social rental housing.

"I am deeply concerned that the plan announced in recent months by Minister Coughlan and Minister of State Noel Ahern that people will be denied rent supplement after 18 months on the misleading basis that local authorities, which simply do not have the funds, will be able to address their housing needs will further add to this hardship. It is only logical to assume that if local authorities were in a position to address the housing needs of these people they would surely have done so before now." ENDS

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