Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has highlighted the difficult reality for thousands of working families in the state who are locked out of the housing market, caught between huge rents to private landlords, but still being above the social housing income levels set by the Minister.
Speaking in the Seanad this morning, Senator Gavan said:
“Working families on low incomes are faced with paying high rents, no security of tenure in the rental market, and impossibility to save for a mortgage deposit due to the spiraling costs of their accommodation. Yet they are locked out of social housing because the government’s income limits are set so low.
“Families face rising rents which have gone up 45% in my own county of Limerick since the last time income thresholds were reviewed in 2016. A three bedroom house in Limerick has gone from €799 in 2016, to now being €1,160.
“Shockingly families in receipt of the Working Family Payment, which gives extra financial support to people on low pay, is effectively used against families in applying for social housing as it is calculated as part of a net income. The existence of the payment recognises the reality of low pay in our society so our housing policy needs to recognise the struggle low income families are facing now.
“Sinn Féin want income thresholds for social housing to be reviewed, to be raised & then index linked to inflation without further delay. Another element needing change is that the income of adult children should be treated differently to take account of the rental crisis forcing young adults to live at home.
“This is in the Ministers hands to change, to immediately increase these income limits, and to help all those working families held in this housing trap and provide them with hope of having their own home.”