Limerick people hindered by low income limits for social housing


by Alan Jacques

[email protected]

Cllr Maurice Quinlivan
Cllr Maurice Quinlivan

A MARRIED couple in Limerick earning more than €31,500 would be ineligible to apply for social housing supports.

That’s according to Limerick city councillor Maurice Quinlivan who has called on the government to review the maximum income levels for applicants of social housing.

With over 5,000 people and their dependents on the housing list locally, Cllr Quinlivan, who is the Sinn Féin general election candidate for Limerick City, says that the threshold for Limerick should be revised upwards with immediate effect.

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“Due to the housing crisis and increasing rents, people in Limerick are finding it extremely difficult to find housing in the private sector. It is robbing people of the security of a place to call home in the long term,” the City North representative declared.

“Changes in mortgage regulations have made this even more difficult. First-time buyers now need a 10 per cent deposit for the first €220,000 of their property’s cost and 20 per cent of whatever is above this limit.”

Cllr Quinlivan is of the opinion that the Government hasn’t done anything of “substance” in the area of affordable housing.

“In Budget 2016, they have allocated a paltry additional €69 million for social housing. This is even more amazing when you consider that we now have a substantial category of people who have an income too high for social housing, but will struggle enormously to get a mortgage in urban areas where properties are expensive.

“Housing is a right. The state must help to house people when they are frozen out of the private sector. We need to provide the option of social housing to those who cannot afford accommodation in the private sector. This means they will be entitled to rental supports such as HAP and rent supplement. They do not receive any such supports as it stands.”

Quinlivan pointed out that there are many people suffering silently in Limerick due to the restrictive thresholds.

“We have to get real about the gravity and reach of the housing crisis. In a general sense, the Government needs to review the overall situation. More and more people are being locked out of the housing market, and action needs to be taken to support these families.”