Covid-19 renter protection measure must continue – charity

Covid-19 renter protection measure must continue – charity

Homelessness charity Focus Ireland have welcomed the Government’s extension of the current protections for renters until August 1, adding there is a “pressing need” to continue the supports.

Government ministers have expressed hopes they will have new legislation in place which will enable the measures to continue.

Focus Ireland Policy Coordinator Rosemary Hennigan said the primary route into homelessness is from the private rental market and the measures introduced due to the coronavirus pandemic have helped families.

He said: “The moratorium on evictions has meant that families and individuals who would otherwise have faced eviction and entry into homelessness have been able to stay in their homes where they are safe from the virus.

“There is a pressing need for a continuation of the current protections to safeguard the common good where the number of cases of Covid-19 is rising, particularly in circumstances where our first defence against the virus is our homes.

“Renters need to know that they will not face evictions into homelessness during this pandemic, or a rise in their rents where their incomes may have suffered due to Covid-19.”

Focus Ireland welcomed reports of the potential introduction of new legislation which would ensure renters are protected from homelessness during the threat of Covid-19.

“An increase in the numbers presenting as homeless during this pandemic would place significant new pressures on homeless services and local authorities. Social distancing within homelessness is enormously difficult, creating a real threat to both individual health and public health more generally,” Ms Hennigan said.

He added that now is not the time to lift restrictions, “we await the introduction of further legal measures to extend the moratorium on evictions and rent reviews. Every effort must be made to keep people in their homes while this threat to public health continues.”