Thursday, August 2, 2012

North Wexford homes at risk from government rent allowance reviews

Homes across north Wexford will be affected by new, lower Rent Allowance Scheme rates introduced by the Government. That’s according to local Sinn Féin representative Fionntán O’ Súilleabháin who believes that lower income families living in the area will be hardest hit by the new ‘Maximum Rent Limits’ devised by the coalition government, which will force people to move out of their communities where they are established to areas where rents are cheaper.
Mr O’ Súilleabháin said;

“In recent weeks, tenants in receipt of Rent supplement in the Gorey area have been receiving letters from the Department advising them of the new rent Supplement limits, and informing them that they must seek to reduce their rent to those limits. The onus to renegotiate the rent has been left completely on the heads of the tenants, even if it leads to them being forced to break their contract which could result in the loss of their security deposits.”

“If tenants do not successfully renegotiate their rent to the new limits, they may be forced to find alternative accommodation. No family wants to be forced out of their homes, particularly when there may not be accommodation which falls within the new limits available nearby. Families may be forced out of the community that they call home, children will be rooted out of their schools and taken away from their friends.”

“The government is asking for alot from those tenants reliant on rent supplement in the Gorey area. Sinn Féin is calling on the government to meet the tenants half way on this at least. They need to provide tenants with support and information as to how to go about asking their landlords for a reduction in their rent.”

“Ideally they need to provide funding so that the Department of Social protection could have the resources to negotiate directly with landlords to secure reduced levels of rent for tenants. The Government should examine the possibility of using vacant NAMA properties for social housing purposes. We have boarded up houses and half empty estates across this county.”

“According to the government, Rent supplement is a temporary benefit provided to offer short-term income support to assist with reasonable accommodation costs of eligible people living in private rented accommodation who are unable to provide for their accommodation costs from their own resources and who do not have accommodation available to them from another source. The overall aim is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer.”

“Unfortunately adequate social housing does not exist to meet the needs of people in the Gorey area. Our Social Housing waiting list continues to grow and rent supplement has clearly been used by successive governments and our county council to avoid the startling truth that we have a very real housing crisis in North Wexford.”

1 comment: