Big Increase In Rents Leaves More Homeless On The Streets

The number of people facing homelessness because of rent arrears has soared by 27pc. A new report by the national housing organisation Threshold — seen by the Irish Independent — warns rising rents are forcing many low-paid workers onto the streets.

Threshold chairperson Aideen Hayden last night said the situation had reached “crisis” point.

“Emergency measures are now needed by the Government to cap this serious problem,” she said.

“Rent has increased by almost 20pc in places like Cork, Dublin and Galway. For people on low incomes that is an awful amount of money.

“The situation has become a crisis. The amount of people facing rent arrears shows that people just can’t afford to rent in Ireland anymore.

“But for those on the rent supplements benefit — many of which are in serious poverty — and maybe spending 58pc of their income on their rent is increasingly hard.

“People are paying out of their pockets to make ends meet. The allowance they are getting simply isn’t covering what they have to pay.”

Almost 20,000 people — mainly from the low-priced end of the private sector and families in receipt of the rent supplement benefit — sought help from Threshold last year.

More than half (54pc) had income less than €15,000 which is below minimum wage levels of €15,514 per annum and below the EU poverty threshold.

A total of 816 people faced eviction last year because of rent arrears.

Some 239 people of these turned in desperation to the organisation after they were illegally evicted.

Many are also being placed at risk of homelessness because they cannot move onto new accommodation unless they recover their rent deposit.

The report also highlights problems for the growing proportion of people from new communities — including migrant workers.