The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term income support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The aim is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer. The Government has provided a sum of €436 million for this scheme in 2012.
There are approximately 92,000 persons in receipt of rent supplement of which 73,300 are in receipt of payment for six months or more.
The rental accommodation scheme gives local authorities specific responsibility for meeting the longer-term housing needs of people receiving rent supplement for 18 months or more. Details of these cases are notified regularly by my Department to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.
On 16th June 2011, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and the Minister for Housing and Planning published a new housing policy framework statement. This framework statement reflects the content of the Programme for Government and sets out the principles to underpin the development of housing policy into the medium term. Specifically, it contains the announcement for the transfer of responsibility in providing housing needs for long term rent supplement recipients to housing authorities. A multi-agency steering group, which includes representation from my Department, has been established to develop proposals to give effect to this transfer.