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Another day, another totally ridiculous rental ad.

Taking full advantage of the housing crisis and people's desperation, you can now rent this beautiful mattress* for €350 a month.

Don't worry about a bed, you won't be having one of those.

Oh and cosy up – because you'll also be sharing this space.

You have the choice of two sleeping arrangements and the stained walls, lucky enough for you, are included in the price.

The advert reads that you'll need "350 euro in advance one month rent, plus 350 euro advance deposit, which is refundable in the future with minimum four weeks in advance notice period required by the either side to get returned of yours one month 350 euro advance deposit, if any party have any time any other plan in the future"  – is that confusing enough for you?

This bargain property will give you a month's electricity and Internet bills included in the 350 euro per month.

But hang on, it gets even better: if two people want to share the double bed, get ready to pay 500 euro per person…which includes those pesky bills.

You'll be living with two people who are in their 30s and enjoy cooking, cleaning (could have fooled me), cinema, movies and weekend nights out.

This is prime property in Clontarf and the kitchen comes with a "shakes machine" and an "electric cattle" – I'm sure there's a mistranslation here but come on.

And anyone who lists a hob and an oven as an amenity – seriously raises an eyebrow.

But I think in this case, their pictures of the house is case and point.

The government has a lot to answer for when people are subjected to rental conditions like this.

We can't judge the people who put up the ad though – since they are also subjected to the horrendous housing crisis we are all living in. 

EDIT: This listing has since been removed.

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It's that time of year again – Budget day is upon us.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced the 2019 Budget today in the Dail amidst rumours of new tax cuts and spending increases.

He opened with, ''we will protect the most vulnerable in our society.'' 

So here are the main points of information from the Budget about how it will affect you.  

Taxes

Expenditure on capital next year will be €7.3million with the Minister saying, “I am allocating an additional €1.4 billion for schools, universities, public transport, and other important infrastructure projects in 2019, bringing total expenditure on capital next year to €7.3 billion.”

Its good news for workers as the Universal Social Charge is set to be lowered by 0.25 percent (meaning roughly an extra fiver a week) and threshold which people hit the higher tax band, 40 percent rate of income tax, will rise by €750 from €34,550.

As well as that, the threshold at which people hit the lower 2 percent rate of USC, (incomes between 12,000 and 19,000) will be widened by €500, taking into account the 25 cent increase in the minimum wage. Home carers tax credit is increasing by €300 and the earned income tax credit for the self-employed is up €200.

Health

“I am announcing a further increase of €1.05 billion in Health funding for 2019. This brings the health budget to €17 billion. This is the highest level of Health investment in the history of the State.”

Patients under the Drugs Payments Scheme will be happy to hear that the monthly cut-off charge on medicine is reduced to €130 from the current level of €134.

Prescription drug charges reduction from €2 to €1.50 for medical card holders.

Housing

The housing crisis has also been looked at, with €2.3billion has been allocated to the housing programme in 2019, with an extra €150 million will be allocated for the housing assistance payment. There will be €1.25billion for 10,000 new social homes in 2019. 

He said, ''more new homes will be provided this year than any year in the past decade''

Thresholds for affordable housing applicants set at €50,000 for single applicants and €75,000 for dual applicants.

Social Life

Cigarettes have gone up an extra 50 cent while booze prices remain the same. 

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The number of homeless children at risk has soared according to reports at State chhild-protection watchdog Tulsa. 

This is due to concerns for their welfare and safety.

This comes in the aftermath of a family of five having to sleep in a Garda station for the night when there was no emergency shelter available to them. 

According to The Irish Times, the issue with homeless families having to sleep rough in cars has worsened in recent times.

In correspondence on April 30th from Focus chief executive Pat Dennigan to Minster Zappone, he said that the situation “has deteriorated over the last few weeks”. 

In April, 32 families were left with no choice but to approach Garda stations, as no emergency accommodation beds were available.

“Of these, 12 families (20 children) reported to us the following day they had slept rough, mostly in cars,” Mr Dennigan told Ms Zappone.

Mr Dennigan has explained that he may publish the actual numbers of families that had to report to Garda stations at night each month on their website.

“Our board has repeatedly expressed grave concern for the families in this position and also that our services are being caught in an unacceptable position by the failure of the wider system,” he said.

This is a crisis that looks like it isn't going to be solved any time soon.

Figures emerging from the Department of Housing show a recorded 9,872 people as homeless in June 2018, 3,824 of whom were children.

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Unless you've been living under a rock you'll know that the renter's market in Dublin is a complete shambles right now. Rents are going up and students and young professionals are being forced to shell out crazy amounts of money just to have a roof over their heads. 

Change is coming- although it may not seem like it from the window of that €800 a month box room- and that the head of that change is Anna O'Flynn, CEO of Generation Accommodation. 

Originally from Westmeath, Anna is all to familiar with the struggle of finding student and young professional accommodation. She began studying Engineering in UCD and changed to Economic and Maths after 18 months. It was then she first discovered Enactus. 

 “It was a Monday evening and I wanted to go home then go back out on a night out. A friend convinced me to go along to this Enactus meeting with her. To be honest, I hadn't a clue what it was about.”

Enactus are "a charitable organisation which develops future talent by enabling third level students to create, and implement, social entrepreneurial projects which positively impact our local and global communities."

But for Anna, Enactus means so much more than that. 

“It’s all about empowerment. In college there’s all these charities that might do events to raise money and awareness but that’s only one day or one hour a week. I know it’s kind of corny, but the best way to describe it is really, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day but give him a net and you feed him for life.

"We’re empowering people to rethink the way charities and social enterprises run. We’re encouraging people to make a real difference." 

During a training day, Anna's group, many of whom were from outside Dublin, realised that housing was one of the biggest issues faced by our generation. 

"We had masters students from the US and Germany who had come over a week before their course began and ended up living in hostels until they found something."

But housing wasn't the only issue they wanted to tackle. Elderly isolation is also at an all time high in Ireland- and it's a lot more dangerous than one might think. Loneliness increases mortality rate in the elderly by 26%, worse than both smoking and obesity. 

“We also had some people from Dublin on the team who had lovely neighbours. They would pass them on the street and would stop for the chats because that might be the only person they talk to all day.

"One of the girls had a grandmother near UCD who was living alone. Many of the elderly people are living alone as their families aren't around or are living abroad." 

So they thought- why not encourage students and young professionals to live with retired people with a spare room? So Generation Accommodation was born. 

“I thought we were mad, we were only a group of students- how could we possibly make this work?”

Finding potential renters wasn't an issue on UCD's teeming campus- but reaching homeowners proved to be more of a challenge. 

"We put up posters for events and coffee mornings but we didn't have much luck. It can be difficult to get people to trust you when you’re basically telling them to open their homes to a stranger.”

So Anna opted for a more personal approach. The GA team  presented at a post-mass coffee morning in Mount Merrion parish hall. Luckily for them, they had their first taker. 

“Once one person does it and their friends see them do it and see it’s a reputable source, it definitely makes a difference. They also see that we do everything to mitigate the risk associated with renting out. After that first hurdle there were far more homeowners willing to try us.”

The benefits of shared accommodation are palpable on both sides. For the renters, they can avail of extremely reasonable rent, as well as all the creature comforts of a home away from home. Anna also cites the "cultural difference" between the two generations as an advantage- to give the younger people "a different way of seeing things". Especially for foreign students, who can get the "real Irish experience" of being immersed in a local household. 

For the homeowners, the increased security of having someone that they can depend on in the house is extremely important. The homeowners self-select who they rent to, promoting a good relationship between the two. 

“Meeting the renters really humanizes them. There’s this stereotype that students are wild party animals and in the vast majority of cases it’s simply not true. Many of them may be fourth years or masters students who just really want to knuckle down and study.

“That’s why the coffee mornings are so important- they get to meet the person instead of the stereotype."

On a day to day basis, having someone checking in on the retiree can make a massive difference to their quality of life. 

“Even during the recent cold spell the renter were able to pop down to the shop for a few bits instead of the elderly person having to venture out in the snow and ice by themselves."

This year, GA merged with the social enterprise Inhoming and will be officially relaunching in the near future. 

The future is also looking bright for Anna, right now she's busy matching applicants to suitable homes, and has plans in the works to launch GA nationwide, with one eye on overseas expansion. 

Feeling like you might have the next big social enterprise idea? Anna's advice to is utilise any supports you can find. 

“There are so many support and programmes out there. Ireland has relatively small network as well so it’s easy to get to know different people and opportunities.

“Say yes to different opportunities, it’s amazing what doors will open.

"If I hadn't said yes to that first meeting I wouldn't be where I am today.”

See here to find out more about Enactus or Generation Accomodation 

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It only takes a quick scroll through Daft.ie, or a passing glance in an estate agents window to realise that Dublin's property market is, for lack of a better term, in absolute bits.

Renters are forced to opt for sub-standard accommodation as they search for properties close to work or college, while first-time buyers are being priced out of the market left, right and centre.

Average house prices in Dublin have now surpassed the 400k mark, which, by our calculations, means we'll be the proud owner of a cosy three bed semi some time mid-2036.

It's enough to make you want to pack it all in and start a new life as dairy farmer on the east coast of Kerry – which, when you consider how much affordable housing becomes once you venture outside The Pale, actually doesn't sound like a bad idea. 

In an attempt to highlight just what you can get for your money, we've done some digging and discovered the dreamiest Cork mansion. 

Set in a tranquil location just a short distance from Fermoy, Ballyclough House is nothing short of a fairytale.

Sitting on just under 2 acres of lush gardens, this dream home boasts a wonderful staircase hall, two large reception rooms, 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

Oh, and the best part? This gorgeous Elizabethan style mansion is on the market for just €450,000.

Still a big chunk of cash, sure. But when you consider an apartment in Dublin 4 could set you back in excess of €1.5 million, it's serious value for money.

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OK, so at this point we all know the Irish rental market is far from perfect.

Online property searches are over-flowing with shared rooms, outrageous rents and cramped bedsits, and it doesn't look like it's going to change any time soon.

And while prices are continuing to soar all across the country, value for money can differ dramatically from county to county. 

From Dublin to Longford, we've done some digging and discovered just what €600 per month can get you nowadays. 

House Share, Seville Place, IFSC, Dublin 1 – €600 per month 

In fairness, this place is an absolute palace compared to some of the bedsits dotted around the capital city – a separate space for eating and sleeping? Oh the luxury! 

It's location alone was enough to grab our attention, and let's face it, for €600 you could do a lot worse. 

The house is currently occupied by four "hard working Irish professionals, and judging by the random pineapple sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor we're guessing they're a bit of craic as well. 

Four Bed House Ballinalee, Co. Longford – €600 per month 

Where would you get it? 

Four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a garden backing on to woodland – sounds like a dream. 

Sure, Longford might may not have the same career opportunities as Dublin, but hey, if all us poor 20-something Dubliners make the move, the business will surely follow – who's with us? 

One Bed Apartment, Mervue, Co. Galway – €600 per month 

OK, we'll admit that this one bed flat looks like it's stuck in 1998, but its price and location are hard to fault. 

With Galway City Centre just a 20 minute walk away, this cosy self-contained apartment is the perfect option for someone looking to strike a balance between urban and rural . 

Apartment Share Lee Road, Cork City – €550 per month 

Pink throws, emoji cushions and private parking – sounds like our kind of place! 

It's big enough to make you feel like you have your own space, and cheap enough so you won't feel like you've been robbed blind. 

Plus, it's got heaps of natural light, which, when you're used to your kitchen window facing onto an alleyway full of bins, is a real treat. 

Two Bedroom Apartment, Limerick City – €550 per month 

Yes, you read that right – not one, but two bedrooms, meaning you and a housemate could call this place home for just €275 each. 

It's decor might leave a little bit to be desired, but that brand new bed and jaw-dropping price has us considering a move to The West. 

 

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OK, so at this point we all know the Dublin rental market is having a bit of a nervous breakdown.

Online property searches are over-flowing with shared rooms, outrageous rents and cramped bedsits, and it doesn't look like it's going to change any time soon. 

However, every now and again, after what feels like days of scrolling, you'll come across a property that ticks all the boxes – (only for it to be snapped up before you even got a look in). 

But never fear, because in an effort to help you beautiful people with your room search, we've done some digging and uncovered six Dublin properties under €600 – and there's not a bunk bed in sight. 

Churchtown, Dublin 14 – €550 per month 

Double bed, built in wardrobe and enough room for a free-standing full-length mirror – what more could you want?

The converted attic in Churchtown is practically palatial in comparison to some of the dingy student digs we've been subjected to over the years – just look at all that floor space!

You'll be sharing with three girls and one guys in their 20s and 30s, and it's within walking distance from Dundrum Town Centre, Nutgrove Shopping Centre & the Dundrum LUAS stop – perfect if you're commuting in and out of town everyday.

Kimmage, Dublin 6w – €450 per month 

The price tag isn't the only attractive thing about this property. A double bedroom, nifty communal living area and off-street parking make it the perfect house for anyone looking for good company and relaxed vibes. 

According to the listing, the house is currently occupied by three easy going professionals in their late twenties to early thirties, and their looking for someone similar to join their gang. 

Sure the room itself is lacking a little when it comes to space, but given that the price is well below average Dublin rents at the minute, we're willing to loom past that. 

Harold's Cross, Dublin 6 – €400 per month

Nope, we haven't magically travelled back in time to 2015. This cosy room in the sought-after Dublin 6 area is actually going for €400 per month. 

Located right in between Rathmines and Harold's Cross, the property is within walking distance from town and close to all local amenities. 

The new occupant will be sharing with two guys and one girl who promise "chilled, relaxed vibes all round." 

Terenure, Dublin 6 – €500 per month 

Again, not the most spacious living space you'll find in the capital city, but it's convenient location, decent price tag and inviting communal areas helped it to earn a place on our list. 

Currently occupied by 3 male professionals, both lads and ladies are invited to view the available box room. 

It's a 20-minute cycle to the city centre, or if like us you'd rather leave the bike at home, the 15 and 16 bus routes will drop you straight into the hustle and bustle. 

Rialto, Dublin 8 – €550 per month 

According to the ad, the ideal candidate will:
1. Always have Netflix suggestions.
2. Join in on trips to Ikea.
3. Take on their fair share of cleaning.
4. Not smoke inside (like ever.)
5. Be generally sound.

Sound like you? 

You'll be sharing with two young professionals in their mid twenties who enjoy wine and chats and movie nights (with their brand new projector!). 

Harold's Cross, Dublin 6 – €550

Front facing room with good storage and central heating? – Sounds like we're on to a winner already.

Bills include gas and electricity only (the landlord pays for bins and TV licence) and broadband is €20 per month.

The house is currently occupied by two gals in their early 30 who are only too fond of vino, game of thrones, and pizza – perfection!

 

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The occupiers of Apollo House have agreed to attend a meeting with the Minister for Housing tomorrow.

The Home Sweet Home group will send a delegation of seven members to meet with Simon Coveney, after receiving an invitation from the Minister.

The invitation came after Apollo House residents created a hard-hitting video directed at the government asking them to come up with a solution for Ireland's homelessness crisis. 

The group has published a list of demands that the delegates will bring up at the meeting tomorrow.

The list includes the establishment of 24-hour private rooms for all homeless people for a minimum of six months to aleviate those sleeping on Ireland's streets, and a referendum on the right to housing.

Dublin City Council give the green light to plans to demolish Apollo House just over two weeks ago. 

The Apollo House office building, which previously stood empty, is currently being occupied by the Home Sweet Home coalition of housing activists and homeless people.

The building is currently operating to capacity, and provides food and shelter to those in need 

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