Homeless crisis: Rent allowance set to increase

Additional assistance to tackle housing emergency expected to vary by location

Allowances are paid to people who cannot afford the full cost of renting a home and are, in effect, top-ups to cover the full cost. Photographs: Getty Images/PA

Allowances are paid to people who cannot afford the full cost of renting a home and are, in effect, top-ups to cover the full cost. Photographs: Getty Images/PA

 

An immediate move to provide extra financial assistance to people at risk of becoming homeless is to be announced by the Government to tackle the housing crisis.

The Cabinet is expected to agree today to increase rent supplement and housing assistance payment with effect from next week.

Both allowances are paid to people who cannot afford the full cost of renting a home and are, in effect, top-ups to cover the full cost of the rent.

A decision by the Cabinet today means the maximum rents that may be paid by people receiving rent supplement and housing assistance payment will be increased from July in an effort to prevent people becoming homeless.

A memo from Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar would see the rent limits that apply in councils across the country increase by more than 25 per cent in some cases.

The move from Mr Varadkar, in tandem with Minister for Housing Simon Coveney, will see the limits increase in both urban and rural councils, although the exact increase will depend on the location.

Housing assistance payment is another form of housing support that is a long-term replacement for rent supplement.

It is expected the increase in limits for the remaining six months of this year will cost €15 million, with €12 million going on rent supplement. It will cost an estimated €30 million in a full year.

A proposed increase in rent supplement was one of the sticking points in the negotiations on a minority government between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, with Fine Gael favouring housing assistance payment as a method to keep people in their homes

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The maximum rent payable in order to qualify for rent supplement in Dublin City Council’s area is currently limited to €1,000 per month for a couple or parent with three children, decreasing to €350 for a single person.

The highest rent a couple with two children, in receipt of rent supplement, may pay in Dublin, apart from Fingal, is €975 per month. It is €900 in Fingal. It is €725 in Cork,€550 in Limerick and €725 in Galway.

People generally qualify for rent supplement if their only income is a social welfare payment, with some other conditions.