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Vulnerable punished yet again by government

category national | housing | opinion/analysis author Monday July 29, 2013 14:49author by nmn Report this post to the editors

Ireland's vulnerable, out of work and poor have again been punished by the government in its latest round of harsh cuts to social welfare rent supplements.

Those receiving rent supplement for privately rented accommodation are receiving letters from the social welfare department telling them that the maximum allowed rent has again been slashed and they must 'negotiate' a rent reduction with their landlords or face having to move to cheaper accommodation.

Fine, but the new rent allowances are ridiculously far below even the cheapest rental and in some places would not even be enough to pay monnthly storage costs, let alone pay for somewhere to live with working utilities.

Rent allowances had been savagely slashed ovet the past few years while the cost of living and rental costs have continued to increase.

The 'property tax' levied by this government on house owners means that private landlords will simply up their rental charges to cover the loss.

A single elderly man receiving a disability allowance and living in Limerick city is, acording to the new so called 'Department of Protection' rent supplement levels is entitled to a maximum monthly rent allowance of £375.

Rent supplement will not as a rule be paid where the rent exceeds £375. Have any of those setting these ridiculous limits tried finding furnished single accommodation fit to live in as home for under £375 per month in Limerick City, for one example?

Would it not be simpler for the 'Department of Protection' to send gas vans around and start gassing those it seems intent on either making homeless, or forcing to live in conditions no-one working at the 'Department of Protection' would ever consider occupying themselves?

List of new rent limits at link:

Related Link: http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Rent-Supplement.aspx#l62fd2
author by ciarapublication date Mon Jul 29, 2013 18:55Report this post to the editors

It's easy to attack the weak.

Cut the poor some more,dont dare touch the wages of those in the dail.

Did you know pat rabbitte of the labour party is walking away with a 150k pension a year at a staggering 5% tax,for four years work in the dail???

Most peoeple would have to work 30+ years and would not even see a years worth of that pension at 150 k - lets start by cutting these politicians pensions.

Everything needs to be on the table if things are to be seen as equitable & fair & just in this society.

author by fredpublication date Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:07Report this post to the editors

You need to have a fixed address to receive welfare, but you spend much of your welfare to get an address. How is this fair? Everyone complains welfare rates are too high. But when you take away the amount you have to pay towards having a fixed address, welfare is actually considerably lower. i think the idea is that eventually you will have enough to pay your rent but little or nothing more. Essentially just giving the money to landlords rather than to the poor, because they don't mind giving money to people who own multiple properties thus buoying up property values, but heaven forbid they might actually give anything to those with nothing. If we just dropped the pretence and welfare was given directly to the rich and not to the poor, I wonder would we still get the exposes on prime time and the constant propaganda about welfare fraud? Probably not!!

The Unemployed are being facially scanned and their signatures are electronically taken in a no doubt very expensive fraud protection measures which cost more than the actual fraud and no doubt line the pockets of private companies contracted to do the work. Whole floors in new buildings are being rented and expensively kitted out in order to scan all the unemployed for this. This in the wake of the NSA spying scandal and all the facial recognition software scanning of facebook photos.

The UK tried to bring in an ID card with biometrics a while back and there was a complete furore and a NOTOID movement, but this ID card was brought in in Ireland starting with the unemployed without even a murmur from the media. Just endless royal parasite cap doffing forelock tugging sprogwatch stories.

It really sucks to be unemployed in this country. You are just treated with zero respect.

author by nmnpublication date Thu Aug 01, 2013 15:04Report this post to the editors

In addition to my first posting this item - I am now reliably told that social welfare officers across Limerick City wrote to the 'Department of Protection' requesting that the rent supplement limits were raised for Limerick City as they were unrealistically below actual rent levels.

Those signing the letter know the true levels of rent in the city.

Their request was rejected.

author by Comyn - Housing and Justicepublication date Fri Aug 02, 2013 16:18Report this post to the editors

'It really sucks to be unemployed in this country'......and there are too many that this applies to.

The video is worth a look: We need to listen to the silence and create an awareness of just how many people are presently vulnerable to changing lifestyles and circumstances.

Rent Allowance is again under attack. Minister Joan Burton - Department of Social Protection is an astute player with a wide spectrum of life experience that informs her about the social welfare culture that is engrained and where the black economy prevails. Savings can be made and it is the role of Social Protection as a duty to the taxpayers of Ireland to ensure equity applies. However, the methodology as outlined in the previous postings and the breach of civil liberties needs to be monitored carefully.

This is an invaluable link. http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Rent-Supplement.aspx#l62fd2. All the data you could possibly have wanted is listed in this link, the problem is the underlying assumption that people who are on rent allowance have access to computers to obtain this information.

There is a new contingent of people - the soon to be evicted by the banks. The banks are making promises to re-structure mortages but what about those who have no other alternatives but to hand the keys back to the banks, to take on board the negative equity of what was once their dream home, and have no alternatives but to seek accommodation with family; the private sector or ultimately the housing list. The criteria in this link is only a beginning process for these people. People unable to pay mortgages and where the banks choose to evict them invariably have many debts and are most likely to be part of the unemployed.

Private equity firms (Blackstone, Kennedy Wilson and others are buying up blocks of apartments ie multi-family is the new name on the block. Will these be the new landlords to this Rent Allowance and Bank evicted bankrupts category of people? The local authorities failed dismally to maintain the stock of social housing especially over the Celtic Tiger years. The trick was conjuring up the idea of letting the private investor be the landlords instead of the local authorities. It was the creation (and it happened in the UK also) of the buy-to-let speculator and we know the story here. 40,000 of these landlords (who failed dismally to provide the service that Section 23 imposed on them) are targeted by the banks for eviction process, followed no doubt by the personal insolvency solution option.

The question now is who will buy these houses/apartments. If there was a State sense of fair practice and fiduciary trust, it should be the function of the local authorities to make provision for all the people in need of accommodation in line with criteria rent supplement link. This is the crisis of now and this is what must be dealt with in an equitable way. The reality as it plays out presently is that home-ownership culture is at its lowest level in 18 years in America (Blackstone is now the biggest owner of property in the US), so why not in Ireland and the local authorities will sub-contract to the private equity buyers of properties from NAMA or direct from the banks who will be motivated to evict because the buyers . This may not be bad but we do need to understand and make choices.

Common sense would ask the question what will happen to the many people who are soon to be evicted. Spain too fell for the home-ownership Credo (unlike Germany where rent is key and rent controls apply) and in spain there are people, once home owners living the lives of the evicted and living homeless. Transition in Europe states that in Spain the social model provides for two years on social security and then nothing. The Troika no doubt have this in mind for Ireland. The Social model that was the pledge of the EU is not sustainable so be prepared.


author by John Kellypublication date Thu Aug 08, 2013 22:45Report this post to the editors

Statutory rent controls and ceilings is the norm in Germany and other states. Merkel even says they are in place to serve 'social justice' and to prevent a property bubble. Also keeps wages at a lower level.

Why no traction on this issue here Too many real "vested interests" in our 'great little country'?

Will someone make a start?

author by Edmund French - Social Justice publication date Mon Aug 26, 2013 16:41Report this post to the editors

'The street and Hello'. A person with disabilities is being moved again and the stress and anxiety is for him to accept while the State moves him onwards from Dublin 4, to Dublin 6 and now he is being moved to Clondalkin. What do you say? Deficits due to disabilities are a harsh enough sentence to have to bear without being moved to foreign locations because the austerity programme is the dictator these days.

Asylums and laundries tell the harsh times imposed on human beings. We are told that our asylums housed some 20,000 people up to the 1980's and now the figures are reduced to 2,000 or less. But who tells the true story? The deal was that people would be released in a 'sheltered' type of system that provided community support and welfare. This is not true. Where are the primary health care centres? Why are there so many homeless on our streets? What about those in our prisons who have underlying mental health conditions leaving them susceptible to petty crime? Baggot Street Community hospital in its bedraggled state is an eyesore but worse a non provider of the services it purports to provide. Outside Tesco's and along the street, sick (due to drug addiction etc) people beg for money for hostels. We need to examine the hostel industry. These people who beg could well benefit from medical expertise and support. If you have money and family support and of course health cover, the options is private health care - that bipolarity which says you are rich or you are poor.

Do we care that several weeks ago a drug addict who no doubt due to addiction had both his legs amputated and was found dead but awaiting trial for some paltry offence. This man was homeless like so many more. How many people who are homeless in another time would had had a watchful eye, care and compassion given to them and are now walking our streets and sleeping rough for fear of having to visit those homeless hostels that have their own bullying regime, often by those addicted to drugs and alcohol. We hear so little about the Hade family Pentecostal church these days and what exactly happened to the people who attended their shelters which were funded by Dublin City Council and if investigated furthert probably the HSE and a host of charities. It took Bank of Scotland to pull the rug financially in their case.

Too many people are vulnerable. These are the people with mental health problems that nobody honestly cares about. The headline in the daily newspaper goes like this and shame on us all because this man fell into many categories of disability and as a fellow European who once worked in Ireland no entity saved him from the fate of an appalling death of being crushed in a 400 litre bin which was loaded into a waste disposal truck. Is this another man who has suffered such a horrendous death?

Henryk Piotrowski, a Polish national, age 43 is this man's name. We now learn that this man had suffered head injuries which may have been caused by an assault. This the new war on the streets for the vulnerable in our society and in particular those with brain injuries; mental health conditions and addiction problems. This man was found in a recycling bin yet he was recorded begging on CCTV in a Dublin City centre street. The death is being treated as suspicious. It is not ruled out that this is a manslaughter case according to the Gardai at Crumlin Garda station. We now know that this man has lived rough on our streets for four years and leaves a wife and two children living in Poland. It is known he had a chronic alcohol problem. We can all ask deep questions but we know that there are men and women and children like him turned away from hostels because they 'drink' or high on drugs. Most days like others who are vulnerable and cast away by society especially if they have mental health, alcohol or drug addiction problems, they find their way to the Capuchin Day centre on Bowe Street in search of food and if at all possible shelter. The staff at the Capuchin Day centre say "he was the kind who never caused any trouble. We had been aware he was a rough sleeper but we don't have any more information on his death or what happend'.

Universal care is not new. There used to be a dispensary system and it worked a hell of a lot better than what is provided now. The health system is inadequate, under-resourced and doesn't provide for people in need who live on the streets.

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