I propose to take Questions Nos. 246 and 247 together.
The Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) introduced in 2005 placed responsibility on local authorities to meet the accommodation needs of people in receipt of Rent Supplement for 18 months or longer, and who are assessed as having a long-term housing need. RAS has provided a more structured, accommodation-based approach to the use of the private rented sector to meet long-term housing need, thereby eliminating dependence on temporary income support payments through Rent Supplement.
In the period from RAS commencing in 2005 to the end of December 2017, some 34,493 households have been transferred from Rent Supplement to RAS. Data for the years 2011 to 2017 on the number and cost of tenancies funded under the RAS scheme, broken down by local authority, is available on my Department's website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.
As of 31 May 2018, there are 19,388 tenancies supported under RAS. I am providing €134.3 million to support the cost of RAS in 2018, some €42.7m of which was spent up to 31 May 2018, and this funding will go towards supporting 600 additional RAS tenancies targeted to be achieved by local authorities in 2018, and the ongoing cost of supporting continuing RAS contracts in place at the end of 2017.
Towards 2021, as the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme continues to be rolled out nationally and replaces Rent Supplement completely, it is expected that more RAS tenancies will terminate than will commence.
RAS continues to be an effective and secure form of social housing support, and remains a significant part of the suite of social housing options currently available to those who are assessed as being in need of housing support.