Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ask the Minister for an assurance that no one will become homeless because of the budget

Focus Ireland - everyone has a right to a place called home

April's mini-budget included cuts in the Rent Supplement scheme which will increase the risk of people becoming homeless. You can help prevent this.

In the last week of May the Government will make an automated cut in all rent supplement payments of 8%; this will be on top of an increase of €11 since January in the contribution a tenant must make to their rent. This cut will be made with no reference to the circumstances, vulnerability or disability of the tenant. Most importantly, it will be made with no reference to whether the rent charged by the landlord has actually fallen.

The Government hopes that landlords will cut the rents they charge when they hear that their tenants have less money. But if landlords refuse, it is the tenant who must pay the price - or lose their home.

As someone who has supported Focus Ireland's campaigns on behalf of homeless people in the past, I hope you will be willing to lend your support to our call for Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin to issue an assurance that no-one will become homeless because of these measures.

This seems a small assurance to ask of her. But if she makes this commitment it will be important. We will be able to enter into detailed discussion with Community Welfare Officers about how vulnerable people can be protected.

The risks facing people in the private rented sector are not one of the issues which the media is interested in discussing at present. These cuts which may deprive some people of their homes seem likely to slip through with little debate. Don't let that happen. Click on e-mail the Minister and your local TDs on this.

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