Failure of Rent Allowance Scheme has created homeless crisis
Taoiseach must commit to ending ‘hidden discrimination’
Statement by Senator Katherine Zappone
The refusal of landlords to accept people on rent allowance is a form of discrimination which is unacceptable and must be ended, according to Senator Katherine Zappone.
The Independent Senator is calling on the Taoiseach t to act to ensure people with low incomes or on social welfare are guaranteed equality.
The Senator says the failure of the rent allowance scheme has created a ‘housing crisis and child welfare emergency’.
Senator Zappone added:
“It is clear that the rent allowance scheme has failed those it was intended to support and as a result has placed families in crisis. Frontline agencies such as Focus Ireland confirm that in the Dublin area alone 1,000 children became homeless in the past year with 90% of families without a home experiencing homelessness for the first time.
Families are being squeezed out of a market where landlords are calling the shots. The rental
market needs to be regulated and I am calling for the Government to move on this sooner rather than later.
The harsh reality facing those on low income trying to put a roof above their head is that most properties are being priced above the threshold of the rental allowance or landlords simply will not accept the allowance.
This refusal is blatant discrimination and is as unacceptable as turning away tenants on the basis of gender, civil status, family status, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or membership of the traveller community.
The escalating crisis and its devastating impact on families and children shows why Ireland needs to act and guarantee rights provided for under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Last year the Constitutional Convention voted in favour of protecting such rights but there has been no response from Ministers.
By acting now the Taoiseach and his Government could ensure that everyone in the country is guaranteed a life of dignity with access to an adequate standard of living – including proper housing.