in the budget estimates last week the minister for social welfare announced significant changes in the rent allowance scheme for welfare recipients.
she intends to restrict rent allowance to those who have been in rented accomadation for six months prior to making the application.
this restriction will effectively prevent long term welfare recipients from moving out of the family home-it seems to be aimed primarily at lone parents.
currently there are 60000 recipients of rent allowance for private rented accomadation in this country.
this appears to be increasing at a rate of approx 7500 per year.
in addition there are 48000 on housing waiting list for public housing.
next year the government expects 5000 local authority houses to be built- a slight increase on last year.
it is clear that as a nation we have been unable to provide sufficient public housing for some years now and we have relied on the private rented sector to make up the shortfall.
this new restriction will prevent the use of the private sector to alleviate the need for public housing.
while aimed primarily at the poor this restriction will impact heavily on the owners of rented property as well.
some appartment blocks in dublin have at least 20% rent allowance recipients.