Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Questions (294)

Mick Barry

Question:

294. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he can reimburse Co-operative Housing Ireland the cost of heating Merville Court, Fairview, Dublin 3, given that prior to it being taken over by the co-operative, the tenants were part of the rental accommodation scheme, and the cost of the heating was met by Dublin City Council, and recoupable from his Department (details supplied). [21055/16]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) is a targeted scheme catering for the accommodation needs of persons in receipt of Rent Supplement from the Department of Social Protection, generally for more than 18 months, and who are assessed by housing authorities as having a long-term housing need. Under the RAS, the procurement/sourcing of accommodation is the responsibility of the local authority. The cost of the scheme is met largely from Exchequer funding that would otherwise be devoted to Rent Supplement, along with rent contributions from tenants on a similar basis to the local authority differential rent scheme. Under the RAS, my Department recoups to local authorities the contracted rents due to the private landlords, net of tenant contributions. Heating costs are not provided for under the RAS recoupment arrangements.

I understand that Co-operative Housing Ireland (formerly NABCO) acquired the housing units referred to by the Deputy with the assistance of my Department’s Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF). The CALF is a loan facility which is exclusively available to Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to assist them in accessing private or Housing Finance Agency (HFA) finance for the purchase, construction or refurbishment of units that will then be made available for social housing purposes under long-term Payment and Availability agreements. The cost of the Payment and Availability agreement is recouped to the local authority by my Department under the Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP). These payments are made on a monthly or quarterly basis based on a discount on market rent in the area. Heating costs are not provided for under SHCEP financial arrangements.