Wednesday 21 March 2018

Charity welcomes affordable rental plan - but says more must be done

Threshold’s Bob Jordan. Photo: Tom Burke
Threshold’s Bob Jordan. Photo: Tom Burke
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

National housing charity Threshold has welcomed plans to introduce an affordable rental scheme for young workers seeking a home in our major cities.

The charity said that the proposed scheme, which would see the State pay 30pc of market rent for low earners such as newly qualified nurses and gardaí, would allow workers to live close to their jobs and help eliminate long-distance commuting.

But chief executive Bob Jordan said the measure was just one among a number needed to improve the rental market. A key measure to ensure stability would be linking rents to the cost of living, a suggestion rejected by the Government, which instead introduced a two-year rent freeze.

"We've been highlighting for a number of years the plight of people who don't qualify for social housing or rent supplement but who can't afford market rents," Mr Jordan said.

"This pilot scheme is welcome and is targeting a real need out there. In recent years, people on low incomes in retail and services have been driven further and further away from the city, and this will provide them with a real opportunity to live closer to where they work."

Details of how the affordable rental scheme will operate have yet to be decided, although some €10m will be made available in 2016 for a pilot project.

Based on the average cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment in Dublin, the available funding would secure around 650 homes.

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Alan Kelly has announced €10m funding for local authorities to allow them to complete and take over unfinished housing developments.

City and county councils have not taken over the running of some 5,600 estates across the country - including 1,500 where applications have been made -because essential services such as roads and footpaths have not been finished to the required standard.

A €10m pilot scheme will provide money for works to be completed while also improving co-ordination between local authorities, Irish Water and other stakeholders to allow developments to be handed over.

Irish Independent

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