Lone parents cut should not lead to council rent increase – Ellis
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has called for the Minister for Environment to address an anomaly which has led to increases in council rents for families which have had their income cut under changes to the One Parent Family Payment (OPFP). He made his comments having been contacted by someone who, having lost their One Parent Family Payment, was reassessed and given a €80 increase in her monthly rent.
Deputy Ellis said;
"As from the obviously unjust cut which was inflicted on these families which has led to many losing hundreds of euro of vital income every month, to then increase the rent of these families, is unacceptable and must be recognised for the mistake it is and corrected.
“The government ended payment of OPFP to parents of children over seven this summer. This led to the woman I spoke to losing €80 a week of her already meagre income with which she has to support a family.
“Due to the way rents are calculated based on income in council housing, she was reassessed and has had her rent increased by €20 per week, totalling an extra €1040 a year due to a cut in her income of over €4000. This is because the OPFP is treated as a separate income and only 50% of second incomes are considered when calculating rent.
“The complicated system of calculating rent levels is to protect people from unfair levels of rent increases when situations change for them, but in some cases it has worked in the opposite direction as a second hard blow for one parent families.
“The Minister must address this. I have contacted his office and hope that he will direct councils to review any changes they have already made and avoid further incidents of rent increases for people in similar cases.”