Family seeks action over rising rents

Gwen Connell and her children Lauren, 17, and Katie, 10, protest after their rent rose over 40%. Pic: Gareth Chaney

A family who claim to have been made homeless by rising rent levels has called on Social Protection Minister Joan Burton to help hundreds like them in their need.

The Connells, from Blanchardstown in north-west Dublin, made the call during a protest outside the Department of Social Protection offices yesterday.

Gwen Connell said she and her children had been ignored in their protest.

Ms Connell said her family have been living with friends and relatives for a fortnight after their landlord raised rent by over 40% — a €900 to €1,300 rise.

The family, who are receiving rent allowance, had been living in the home for three years. However, the price rise meant the €950 in State support could no longer cover the cost.

Ruth Coppinger of the Anti-Austerity Alliance accompanied the family during the protest and said the situation is increasingly common.

She claimed people on rent allowance are being pushed out of the private rental market due to a growing bubble in Dublin, while councils have next to no suitable accommodation available.

In an email to the family this week, Ms Burton said she is “most concerned” over the Connells’ claims.

However, she said little can be done to cap private rent levels, while the rent allowance the family are receiving is already on the high end of the scale.

Ms Burton said the family need to “think anew” about their needs, and how these “can be met within the housing market”.

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