Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1240)

Shane Cassells


1240. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if it is a policy for community welfare officers to inform those on rent supplement that the payment may be impacted if they do not get approved for HAP by the local authority in the coming weeks; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12800/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Rent supplement continues its important role in housing families and individuals, with the scheme supporting approximately 22,600 recipients for which the Government has provided €132.4 million for 2019.

Generally to qualify for Rent Supplement a claimant must be in a bona fide tenancy, not in full-time employment and:

- have been residing in private rented accommodation (where at the commencement of the tenancy the person could have reasonably afforded the rent and has experienced a substantial change in his or her circumstances) and where they are now unable to pay the rent); or,

- was previously in receipt of a rent supplement payment within 12 months of the date of application; or,

- residing in accommodation for homeless persons or in an institution (or any combination of these) for a period of 183 days within the preceding 12 months of the date of claim for Rent Supplement - however, a person in these circumstances who has been deemed qualified for social housing support (prior to leaving homeless a persons’ accommodation setting / institutional care) is referred to the local housing authority with their housing needs addressed under HAP.

Rent Supplement continues its withdrawal from the provision of long term housing within the private rented sector. The aim of the “Rebuilding Ireland - Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness (July 2016), reiterated in the “Housing First National Implementation Plan 2018-2021” (September 2018), is to provide 87,000 flexible housing supports through the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and Rental Accommodation Scheme between 2016 and 2021.

A HAP assessment is not a factor in determining a customer’s rent supplement on-going eligibility. The frequency and the amount of rent supplement support being provided is primarily based on: the means assessment of the individual; their employment status; and the amount rent being paid. There is no sanction or penalty whereby a customer is in receipt of rent supplement and subsequently is not approved for HAP.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.