Rent Supplement Scheme Administration

Questions (155)

Alan Farrell

Question:

155. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will consider the replacement of rent supplement with the proposed housing assistance payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44931/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

In March 2012, the Government approved in principle the transfer of responsibility for recipients of rent supplement with an established housing need from the Department of Social Protection (DSP) to local authorities using a new Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). On 18 July 2013, the Government approved the introduction of HAP including the provision of funding to the local authorities to cover the costs of accommodating HAP claimants. My Department and the DSP continue to work closely on the legal, policy and operational issues involved in developing and introducing HAP.

Local Authority Housing Provision

Questions (156)

Alan Farrell

Question:

156. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views on whether there is a need to ring-fence a proportion of the €100 million housing stimulus package towards housing for persons moving out of homelessness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44932/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I refer to the reply to Priority Question 4 on today's order paper which sets out the position in this matter.

NAMA Social Housing Provision

Questions (157)

Alan Farrell

Question:

157. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will ensure that an adequate proportion of National Asset Management Agency units is ring-fenced for persons moving out of homelessness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44933/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department, the Housing Agency and NAMA continue to work together with housing authorities and approved housing bodies towards identifying and bringing units into social housing use. Units identified through this process are considered by housing authorities for the full range of possible social housing uses, including homeless appropriate accommodation. I am satisfied that when units appropriate to addressing homelessness are identified this process allows housing authorities to bring them into use for those purposes.

Earlier in 2013 I published the Government's Homelessness Policy Statement in which I outlined the Government's aim to end long-term homelessness by the end of 2016.  The statement emphasises a housing-led approach which is about accessing permanent housing as the primary response to all forms of homelessness. I am pleased to confirm that my Department's 2014 national homelessness budget will be maintained at the same level as 2013 - €45 million – to ensure continued progress towards the achievement of the 2016 target of ending long-term homelessness.  It continues to be my Department's objective to maximise the delivery of social housing using all resources available.

Local Authority Housing Maintenance

Questions (158)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

158. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will ensure funding is made available to Fingal County Council with respect to the scheme for alterations to council-rented dwellings to assist disabled and older persons in urgent need of home alteration works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44985/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Under my Department's Social Housing Investment Programme, local authorities are allocated funding each year in respect of a range of measures to improve the standard and overall quality of their social housing stock, including the regeneration of large social housing estates and flat complexes, estate-wide remedial works schemes, funding for extensions and adaptations to meet the needs of tenants with a disability etc. Funding is also provided by my Department for a programme of works aimed at improving the overall standard and energy efficiency of the housing stock.

Earlier in 2013, I allocated just over €1.29 million to Fingal County Council for spending on a range of retrofitting and remedial works. This includes some €159,000 for the provision of adaptations and extensions to meet the needs of particular tenants.

Emergency Accommodation Provision

Questions (159)

Paudie Coffey

Question:

159. Deputy Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide in tabular form the amount of money spent on emergency accommodation in the years 2008 to 2012, inclusive, and to date in 2013; the long-term accommodation provisions that are being delivered to reduce the cost of emergency accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45051/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The extensive information requested is not readily available in my Department. This information is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Earlier this year I published a Homelessness Policy Statement in which I outlined the Government's aim to end long-term homelessness by the end of 2016. The statement emphasises a housing-led approach which is about accessing permanent housing, rather than emergency accommodation, as the primary response to all forms of homelessness. While it is clear that a proportion of funding must be used to provide sufficient bed capacity to accommodate those in need of emergency accommodation, it is equally important that resources are channelled to deliver more permanent responses in a more focused and strategic way. The arrangements that I have put in place during 2013 for delegating homelessness funding to the lead housing authority in each of the 9 regions seek to ensure that the measures being pursued by housing authorities reflect the housing-led approach and that actions are in place towards achieving the target of ending long-term homelessness by the end of 2016.

Local Authority Charges Yield

Questions (160)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

160. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of companies here that are paying €500,000 and over in rates per annum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45085/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The information requested is not available in my Department. Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists prepared by the independent Commissioner of Valuation under the Valuation Act 2001. The levying and collection of rates are matters for each individual local authority.

Local Authority Services

Questions (161)

Heather Humphreys

Question:

161. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the progress made to tackle the issue of overgrown hedges and trees in privately-owned gardens; if he will consider enacting legislation similar to the High Hedges Act 2011 in Northern Ireland; his views in terms of a legal remedy to the problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45287/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

There is no legislation in this jurisdiction regulating the height of trees and hedges in privately owned gardens and I do not currently propose to introduce legislation on this matter. My Department understands that there is a civil remedy of nuisance available in respect of the branches or roots of a neighbour's trees encroaching on one's property. I have recently been in correspondence with the Joint sub-Committee on Public Petitions and will give consideration to their recommendations on this matter.