Wednesday 28 January 2015

Family protest after rent hike forces them out

Brian Byrne

Published 27/02/2014 | 02:30

Gwen Connell with children Lauren (17) and Katie (10) outside the Department of Social Protection. GARETH CHANEY COLLINS

A FAMILY of four who were left homeless due to a €400 rent hike said they were forced to stage a protest in order to find a place to live.

Single mother Gwen Connell (36) and her three children, from Blanchardstown in Dublin, had to leave their home after their landlord raised their rent from €900 to €1,300, citing increased demand in the market.

Ms Connell, who had received the maximum rent allowance of €950 per month, has been living apart from her daughters, aged six, 10 and 17, for more than two weeks.

She told the Irish Independent that she was "embarrassed" to have to stage the protest outside the Department of Social Protection in Dublin, but said she had "lost control" of the situation and had no other options.

In a letter addressed to Ms Connell, Social Protection Minister Joan Burton said that "while some categories of housing are becoming harder to find, there is still availability" in Dublin 15, where the family had lived for the past three years.

However, Ms Connell claimed that she was no closer to finding accommodation which will accept rent allowance.

She said: "I'm not saying I don't want this house or I don't want that house. There's no choice out there."

"People assume certain things because you're on rent allowance. But I've been a model tenant. There's never been any issues. I have references," she said.

Irish Independent

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