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It is not the least bit surprising that internal Department of Social Protection documents dismiss the impact of increases in rent supplement (Irish Examiner, May 16).
This austerity measure is the policy the department has relentlessly pursued for several years.
It has been one of the most significant factors causing many hundreds of families and individuals to lose their homes and become homeless as they struggled to bridge the gap between the cost of renting and the low level of rent supplement support.
Rent supplement has always been a subsidy to assist those on social welfare living in private rented accommodation to pay their rent so that losing employment does not mean homelessness.
It is not a mechanism to increase the supply of housing.
To be effective it must reflect market rents so people can afford to pay their rent and not lose their accommodation.
It makes as much sense to criticise it because it ‘goes into the pockets of landlords’ as to complain that farm subsidies go to farmers.
The state is purchasing accommodation from the private sector and therefore must pay the owner of the accommodation.
Of course it makes more sense to invest in public social housing.
However, successive governments have failed to do so and new investment is very slow to bear fruit.
Until that social housing becomes available we are left with the costs of that neglect.
The documents this article quoted simply confirm that the outgoing government decided that cost of failure to deliver housing should fall to those least able to shoulder it.
Director of Advocacy
9-12 High St
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