REVISED LIMITS FOR RENT ALLOWANCE
At present approx. 86,000 people in Ireland receive Rent Allowance from Dept. of Social Protection. It is paid to people who have difficulty paying the full cost of private rented accommodation, ie those who satisfy the scheme’s conditions and whose only income is a social welfare payment.
Yesterday the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, announced a plan to revise the maximum limits under the scheme. These limits will be in place from June 17th 2013 until December 31st 2014. The purpose of reviewing the limits is to ensure that the government achieves value for money and that tenants in areas where rents are high can afford to rent private accommodation.
Following a survey of rental costs in Ireland, it was discovered that the rent allowance limits should be increased in Dublin (and parts of Wicklow and Kildare) and Galway; in other areas the limits should remain the same or possibly be decreased in rural areas. On that basis it is likely that the maximum Rent Allowance limit for Deaf people living in Kerry and the wider Munster region will be reduced.
To read the Minister’s full statement about the new revised limits, go to: http://www.welfare.ie/en/
In other news on Rent Allowance, it was announced in April that the government is considering extending Rent Allowance to people who have come off social welfare payments to take up full time employment. At present a person who gets Rent Allowance loses this entitlement when they take up a job. Rent Allowance can be worth up to 475 euro per month.
Under the new scheme, the rent supplement would be replaced by a new “housing assistance payment” where a person taking up work would continue to receive a proportion of the rental payment. For more information see: http://www.irishtimes.com/
DEAF SPORTS IRELAND FOOTBALL MARATHON
DSI is holding a Football Marathon at the Deaf village Ireland on Sunday 23rd June from 9.30am-6pm. All money raised will go to supporting Team Ireland at the 2013 Deaflympics this July.
Registration is now open for 16 men’s teams and 8 women’s teams: 6 players a side, plus 2 subs; each team will play 6 matches of 20 minutes each. Each player must pay 20 euro entry fee and players are encouraged to fundraise a minimum of a further 30 euro each. Teams who reach a fundraising target of 400 euro will start the tournament with 3 match points. Registration is required to play and the deadline for registration is June 18th.
For more information and to download a registration form, go to: http://deafsportsireland.com/
ACCESS AT EUROPEAN AIRPORTS
Reduced Mobility Rights published a study recently on accessibility and assistance services at airports in the European Union. As part of the study, 18 airports were audited, 7 are among the 10 busiest in Europe by total passenger traffic. The study will be used to develop best practice recommendations.
The study shows that the access provided by most European airports to passengers who are Deaf or hard of hearing is poor. It found that very few airports have induction loops at key areas, such as security check points, passport control booths and check-in counters. It also found that signage is often confusing ,and that there is a general lack of displays of critical information and other announcements, particularly in airports using older types of visual displays. Furthermore, at most airports there are no text-phones or videos with subtitles.
Overall this can lead to an unpleasant experience for Deaf and hard or hearing people. Before you go on holidays, know your rights and entitlements as a passenger and a visitor to another EU state. Information about passenger rights and EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), as well as a travel checklist and other relevant information is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/ireland/
SUBTITLING (CLOSED-CAPTION) GLASSES
For the last twenty years, Regal Entertainment Group, which is the largest cinema chain in the US, has been campaigning to improve access to the cinema for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. This has been a personal campaign for the company’s Chief Administrative Officer, Randy Smith, whose son Ryan (23) is Deaf; and recent advances in technology are making it possible.
This summer, Regal Entertainment will provide access glasses to cinema-goers to about 6,000 screens all over the States. The glasses use Sony’s holographic technology to project the subtitles. They also include an audio function that provides the film dialogue and/or a description of the action for people who use hearing aids and those with sight loss.
The glasses weigh less than 100 grams and are adjustable so the viewer can change the distance of the text display. The subtitles are displayed as a floating holographic image in direct line with the cinema screen. There is a receiver box which allows them to be used with 3d films also.
The cost works out at approximately 1,700 dollars per screen. However, the glasses offer both cinema owners and goers the freedom to have subtitles for every screening. At present, where cinemas offer subtitles, generally it is only for one or two showings of each film, and often at days or times when audience numbers are small. In many areas, subtitled films are not available at all.
Smith saw the potential: “The military had amazing headsets. We knew it was feasible. We just had to get somebody to develop it. I’ve got to say that Sony did a great job. In about an 18-month period, they brought it from concept to prototype.”
According to Nanci Linke-Ellis, from Captionfish, a search engine for films and trailers with subtitles, “They don’t stand out or make you look different, and people don’t have to dip their heads to look at a screen and miss what’s going on.”
This story has been widely reported in the media; for more details see http://www.knoxnews.com/news/