Rent supplements and housing assistance payments to increase

Rent supplements and housing assistance payments to increase

The Government has approved an increase in rent supplement and housing assistance payments by as much as 35%.

It will cost up to €55m extra in a full year.

The move has been welcomed by Sinn Féin but the party has said they want to see rent certainty alongside the measure.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar and Housing Minister Simon Coveney brought the proposals to Cabinet yesterday morning.

55,000 people get rent supplement and a further 10,000 are in receipt of housing assistance payment.

Every part of the country will see increases with examples of a 15% increase in Cavan and Donegal, a 21% rise in Cork city, Longford, Leitrim and Galway city,

Dublin, except Fingal will see a 29% rise.

Minister Simon Coveney said there will be substantial increases: “For a single mother in Cork for example, with one child, the housing assistance payment is not going from €700 – €900 a month. That is a significant increase.”

There’s been a fear that such a move would drive up rents, especially for others.

Minister Leo Varadkar says the two year freeze on rents imposed by the last Government allows for this: “That brings the rent supplement limit above the level where it was in 2007 when it peaked.

“It won’t in itself create any additional houses, it is not a silver bullet, it is just part of the Government’s response.

Sinn Féin’s welcomed the moved but the party’s housing spokesperson Eoin O’Broin says more needs to happen: “We would like to see it increased and more flexibility to local authorities and community welfare officers.

“But we have to have rent certainty along with this.”

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