There are currently more than 32,000 households having their housing needs met via the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). Data regarding the number of households set up on HAP is published on my Department's website and is available up to the end of quarter 3 2017. Data for quarter 4 is currently being finalised and will be published shortly. The total number of new HAP tenancies established during the period referred to in the Question was 15,139.
In relation to the status of HAP recipients on the social housing list, consistent with the provisions in the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014, HAP is considered to be a social housing support and consequently households are not eligible to remain on the main housing waiting list. However, acknowledging that some households on the waiting list, who avail of HAP, have expectations that they would receive a more traditional form of social housing support, Ministerial directions have issued to ensure that, should they so choose, HAP recipients can avail of a move to other forms of social housing support through a transfer list.
Furthermore, local authorities were also directed that HAP recipients, who apply to go on the transfer list, should get full credit for the time they spent on the waiting list and be placed on the transfer list with no less favourable terms than if they had remained on the waiting list. The practical operation of transfer lists is a matter for each local authority to manage, on the basis of their own scheme of letting priorities. The setting of such schemes is a reserved function of the local authority and as such is a matter for the elected members.