TENANTS in receipt of rent supplement payments are struggling to pay bills and buy food their families because what are receiving falls far short of rental costs in Kerry, it has been claimed.
Cllr Michael Cashill said the tenants have to give top-up payments to landlords each month and the Housing Assistance Payments should be increased as a matter of extreme urgency.
“Almost half of tenants are struggling to afford bills, buy groceries or provide for childcare and school costs. Many families are falling further into the poverty trap with all the hazards and suffering that brings, because of high rental costs,” he said.
“We must provide housing, but we must also ensure our tenants can afford at least a basic standard of living”.
Cllr Cahill pointed to the fact that the Simon Community recently released a report warning that a persistent and chronic lack of affordable housing supply will continue to drive some people into homelessness.
“This proves the need to deal with this issue is now long overdue,” he said.
Cllr Cahill asked Kerry County Council to call on the Minister and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to increase, as a matter of extreme urgency, the Housing Assistance Payment.
Council officials said applicants who are experiencing financial difficulty paying the balance of their monthly rent may apply for a discretionary increase in these limits up to a maximum of 20 per cent.
Each case is individually assessed and a decision is taken based solely on the individual household’s financial circumstances.
Since the introduction of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme in Kerry in December 2016. a total of 2,133 tenancies have been set up with a total of 1,623 active tenancies at the end of December.
There were 607 new HAP tenancies set up during 2020.
A total of 905 HAP accommodated households applied for and received a discretionary top -p to their payment and, of these, 751 have received the full 20 per cent top-up.
The HAP limits for Kerry are as follows:
* One adult in shared accommodation: €200
* A couple in shared accommodation: €230
* One adult: €380
* A couple: €410
* One adult, or a couple, with 1 child: €525
* One adult, or a couple, with 2 children: 550
* One adult, or a couple, with 3 children: €575
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