Rent supplement Coalition

Press Releases

Brennan must “end housing hardship”

A coalition of 42 voluntary groups, led by the national housing organisation Threshold is calling on Minister Seamus Brennan, TD, Minister for Social & Family Affairs, to end housing hardship and overturn the six-month eligibility rule for rent supplement introduced last year. The Minister has already stated that “If there are cases of hardship as a result of those adjustments, I will reverse them.”

Evidence from voluntary groups including a joint research study by Centrecare and City Centre (Dublin) Citizens Information Service shows that the six-month rule and other changes to rent supplement have badly affected many people living on the margins:

– New applicants for rent supplement must now pay their own rent for six months before becoming eligible for rent supplement. People who cannot afford to pay are condemned to live in unsuitable and often unsafe conditions. Particularly affected are people in overcrowded accommodation, people affected by relationship breakdown, women and children fleeing domestic violence and young people moving from rural to urban areas to seek employment.

– The rule where people cannot receive rent supplement if their spouse is working over 30 hours per week discourages people from looking for work, especially low-paid work. People on low wages need the support of rent supplement to pay their rent.

– People who are homeless are supposed to be an exception under the new rules. But if they are not sleeping in a homeless shelter or another recognised homeless service, they may not receive rent supplement.

Commenting on the cases of hardship highlighted in the study, Yvonne Fleming, CentreCare Manager said:
“The human cost of these cuts is enormous. People are trapped in poverty with no support to pay their rent and no other options. Rent supplement must be restored to help people in crisis.”

Patrick Burke, Director of Threshold, said:
“Voluntary organisations witness the hardship caused to victims of rent supplement cuts every day. Minister Seamus Brennan is responsible for protecting the most vulnerable people in our society. It will cost less than €15 million to right the wrong done to people in crisis through changes made to rent supplement last year. Minister Brennan should reverse the six-month rule to reassure vulnerable people that a safety net exists when you most need it.”


Members of Rent Supplement Coalition

1. Threshold
2. Simon Communities of Ireland
3. Focus Ireland
4. Vincent de Paul
5. The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice
6. Irish Refugee Council
7. National Youth Council of Ireland
8. National Organisation for the Unemployed
9. Age Action Ireland
10. Children’s Rights Alliance
11. Women’s Aid
12. One Family
13. One Parent Exchange and Network (OPEN)
14. Irish Rural Link
15. Centrecare (A Project of Crosscare)
16. National Association of Tenants’ Organisations (for Tenants and Residents)
17. The CORI Justice Commission
18. Union of Students in Ireland
19. Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI)
20. The Irish Youth Foundation
21. National Women’s Council of Ireland
22. European Anti-Poverty Network
23. The Community Workers Co-Operative
24. Free Legal Advice Centres
25. National Youth Federation
26. National Association for Parent Support
27. National Office for Victims of Abuse (NOVA)
28. Community Action Network
29. Victim Support
30. City Centre (Dublin) Citizens Information Service
31. National Traveller Women’s Forum
32. The Refugee Information Service
33. Respond! Housing Association
34. National Network of Women’s Refuges and Support Services
35. Galway Rape Crisis Centre
36. Irish Association of Older People
37. People with Disabilities in Ireland
38. Northside Community Law Centre
39. Merchants Quay Ireland
40. Tallaght Homeless Advice Unit
41. Donegal Travellers Project
42. Cope, Galway

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