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Saturday 23 August 2014

Families facing homeless threat to get rent top-up

Paul Melia

Published 17/06/2014 | 02:30

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FAMILIES at risk of becoming homeless due to rocketing rent increases will receive a top-up to their rent supplement payment for up to 26 weeks.

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The Government will today announce a new scheme called 'Tenancy Protection' which is aimed at keeping families in their homes where landlords have sought hefty increases in monthly rents.

Additional money, on top of rent supplement, will be given to families for an initial period of 13 weeks to help them pay the higher demanded rent while negotiations are ongoing with landlords. The payments can be extended for an additional 13 weeks, and if agreement cannot be reached, it will allow families to source alternative accommodation.

The scheme will only apply in Dublin, where a maximum of €970 is paid in rent supplement, and only families are eligible for the extra payments.

The scheme has been devised by the Department of Social Protection, the four Dublin local authorities and national housing agency Threshold.

The move comes amid growing concern about rent hikes in Dublin, and the high cost of providing alternative, emergency accommodation to families.

Threshold chairwoman Aideen Hayden said it dealt with 20,000 cases a year, and that it had sought the right to secure additional payments to keep families in their homes.

Ms Hayden also said that reform of the market was needed because one in five families were currently living in rented accommodation.

Irish Independent

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