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21/09/2021

'Sneaky' housing income change will force homelessness says Laois councillor

'Sneaky' housing income change will force homelessness says Laois councillor

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A change in how income is calculated to qualify for social housing is “sneaky” and will make people homeless warns a Laois councillor.
Paid child maintenance is now considered as part of the income of a separated father seeking a social home, but is also considered income for a parent receiving maintenance.

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley said that a Laois separated father is about to be made homeless as a result.
“There is a notice to quit because the landlord wants to increase the rent. This individual will be homeless in September because of this one subtle change.

“The person applying for social housing is €100 over the threshold. They are paying €100 a week maintenance and before this change was made they were able to exclude this as part of their income.
“Now it has to be taken into consideration. It's crazy. It's not part of their income. They would be earning €497 excluding this €100.

“They have been hit with a double whammy. I've contacted our party spokesperson Eoin O'Broin and he told me this is causing problems across the 26 counties.
“I ask that a letter go to the department to flag it up that this is making people homeless. this individual is left with no choice but to pull a caravan into the back of someone's property,” she said.

Cllr John King agrees.
“I feel the wool is being pulled over people's eyes. It's grossly unfair. If maintenance is considered both people's income then the threshold has to go up as well,” he said.
Cllr Willie Aird said he came across the same situation.
“It makes absolutely no sense. It gets lost between the two people. I know of two cases. It's a fair chunk out of wages for maintenance. Surely our legislators didn't allow this to go through. It's to do with national legislation,” Cllr Aird said.

Cllr Ollie Clooney agrees.
“It is a sneaky way of doing business, whoever designed this form. Marriage breakups are increasing all the time. We have to face up to these problems,” he said.

Cllr Paddy Bracken was among several other councillors in support.
“You'd think it's a directive from Brussels but it's our own Government. All these issues are slowly putting people off the housing list, it's totally wrong, these are the most vulnerable people.

“Ministers haven't a clue about being unemployed and not having a house. Civil servants running this country haven't a clue what it's like to have no money,” the Mountmellick councillor said.

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