Councillors told the authority’s executive that rent supplements levels in Cork remain too low.
Sinn Fein’s Pat Buckley told the November meeting of Cork County Council “immediate measures must be taken to help families facing homelessness. The rental supplement levels remain out of line in Cork with what the department of Social protection provide” he said.
The governments reply was written by Damian Allen Principal Officer of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. Mr. Allen stated in his correspondence there won’t be an increase in the rent supplement threshold.
“The minister is acutely aware of the difficulties people, including those in receipt of rent supplement are experiencing in maintaining affordable rented accommodation in the current market where supply is constrained.
The government has committed to building 35,000 additional social housing units by 2020, as well as 75,000 more secure homes in the private rented sector. ”
Rents in Cork county have increased by 8% already this year, where you had an €800 rent you already have an increase of €64 this year. The threshold levels are way below that at €750.
Sinn Fein’s Des Grady also vented his anger at the government’s response he said ” the departments €2.2 billion construction 2020 is welcome, however the housing won’t come on stream until 2018 in the mean time people looking for rent supplement and haps are homeless. There is only one way of stopping rents rising and that’s by placing a cap on rents, put a cap on private rents and raise the threshold. ”
In Dublin the rental supplement is calculated on the average of rents across the location. In cork you have an unusual over spill in the southern division in and around cork city 15 miles each way resulting in varying rental levels.
Fine Gaels Kevin Murphy added “there are currently a number of houses boarded up and left idle and they are not coming back on stream having a detrimental affect on the rental property here. ”
County Mayor Alan Coleman told the assembly “We should try and encourage the acceleration of the construction of units in Cork county. Every house that’s been sold at the moment means one house less in the rental market because all house purchases are going to owner occupiers. There is real fear out there.”
Cork County Council have written back to the Minister requesting a differential rental subsidy system for Cork to reflect the different levels of rent in areas throughout the county.