Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Questions (109)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

109. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on the claims by Focus Ireland and other housing organisations that recent cuts to rent supplement have contributed to making a number of families homeless. [50899/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

There are currently approximately 81,000 persons in receipt of rent supplement for which the Government has provided €403 million in 2013. The aim of rent supplement is to provide short term income assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer. Revised rent limits under the rent supplement scheme have come into force with effect from Monday 17 June 2013 and will be in place until 31 December 2014. The new rent limits have been determined following an extensive review of the private rental market based on the most up-to-date data available. The Department currently funds approximately 30% of the private rented sector so it is essential that the rent limits are kept under review. The new rent limits have been set using the 35th percentile to ensure that sufficient housing is available for recipients of the scheme.

There have been increases in the maximum rent limits in Dublin and Galway while there have been some reductions across a number of counties, reflecting the conditions in the rental markets in those counties. Officials continue to monitor rent levels throughout the country. Department officials dealing with rent supplement tenants will continue to ensure that rent supplement tenants’ accommodation needs are met and that the residence is reasonably suited to their residential and other needs.