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"End rent allowance discrimination": Families to protest over homelessness in Dublin

The two families say that high rents and abuse of the system are forcing people into homelessness.

FILE:  Gwen Connell with two of her three daughters Lauren (left, 17) and Katie (10) protest along with members of the Anti Austerity Alliance outside the Department of Social Protection
FILE: Gwen Connell with two of her three daughters Lauren (left, 17) and Katie (10) protest along with members of the Anti Austerity Alliance outside the Department of Social Protection
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

FAMILIES AT RISK of homelessness are to protest outside in the capital today.

They will meet outside Dublin’s City Hall at 2pm this afternoon. The event was organised by Gwen Connell and Tamara Kearns, who say that the key demands of the protest will be for rent controls and for new homes to be built.

They will also call for an end to discrimination by landlords against those receiving rent allowance.

Homeless

Connell said she was priced out of her home by a €400 rent hike, while Kearns and her family said they were forced into a homeless unit when they could not afford rent despite her partner working.

Connell and her family protested in February, after placing a photo of themselves on social media, holding a message to Joan Burton.

Their message said they had been “split up as a family” due to rent hikes.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie earlier this month, Connell said:

For people on social welfare, there are so many signs saying ‘no rent allowance accepted’. Also landlords can just jack up the price, which makes it even harder. Ours went up by €400, which was impossible.

She also described how there is a stigma to homelessness, which had made her “embarrassed to come out and say I was in that situation”.

Connell said that it is “time that the government acted” over homelessness in Ireland.

They are allowing landlords to abuse the system and most importantly the people. They are wasting huge amounts of taxpayers’ money on hotel bills and who’s getting the blame? We are. The people who need housing are made to feel personally to blame.

Kearns said that she and her family have been homeless since October last year.

“We could no longer afford to keep up the price of rent. We do not receive rent supplement and we are not entitled to help from the social welfare,” she commented.

Our lives have been turned upside down.

The women are being supported by Paul Murphy MEP and the Anti Austerity Alliance, who they contacted for help with their situations.

Read: “There’s a stigma attached to it” – Families forced into homelessness to hold protest in Dublin>

Read: Homeless director says there are new cases of people sleeping rough in Dublin every night>

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