Tuesday 23 April 2019

Tiglin in appeal to housing committee

Removal of allowance puts homeless at a double disadvantage

Aubrey McCarthy, Chairman of Tiglin
Aubrey McCarthy, Chairman of Tiglin

A representative of Tiglin has urged the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness to end a practice which is making life more difficult for homeless people with addiction problems who are trying to get their life back on track.

Aubrey McCarthy, Chairperson of Tiglin Rehabilitation Centre, addressed the committee last week and call for an end to the removal of the rent allowance entitlement for homeless people who engage with a residential rehabilitation service. Instead, he said that the payment should be used to support a residential rehabilitation programme that will give them a fighting chance to stay off the streets.

'Today if you are caught in addiction and you live on the streets the State will only pay your rent allowance if you stay in a B&B, a hostel, a hotel or in private rental accommodation,' Mr McCarthy said. 'The State won't pay you rent allowance if you enter a residential addiction centre where you have access to all the professional supports to help get your addiction under control and to start a new life.

'This makes no sense. We're condemning our most vulnerable people to a horror cycle of long term homelessness and chronic addiction. We can and we must do better,' he said.

Mr McCarthy and Tiglin called on the committee to act now to maintain the payment of rent allowance to homeless individuals seeking to get help for their addiction.

'At present, a person's care package in Tiglin is funded through voluntary contributions. This is clearly inadequate given the proven benefits that treating addiction at source has in helping people tackle their homeless situation. Currently Tiglin service users cannot access rent allowance because Tiglin is classed as a residential institution.

'We are calling on legislators to correct this intolerable situation. Our solution does not cost the State one cent extra and gives service users a real chance to turn their life around and to stay off the streets,' he said.

'Ensuring that an individual continues to receive rent allowance after they enter a rehab centre like Tiglin would send a strong signal that the State is serious about protecting some of our most vulnerable citizens.'

He added that he hoped the committee and the Minister would work with Tiglin and similar centres to right this wrong.

'We can no longer put homeless people in addiction at a double disadvantage because they have the foresight to recognise the value of addressing their addiction problems.'

Wicklow People