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Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 21 July 2020

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Questions (460, 461)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

460. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of Covid-19 rent supplement applications received from 13 March 2020 to the most recent date for which figures are available; the number of claims in payment on the most recent date for which figures are available; the breakdown of these claims by county; the average payment by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16698/20]

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Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

461. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if there are discussions between her Department and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government on the use of the Covid-19 rent supplement payment and or the SWA emergency payment scheme to address the issue of Covid-19 rent arrears debt for private renters who lost income due to Covid-19 restrictions. [16699/20]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 460 and 461 together.

Rent supplement continues to play a key role in supporting families and individuals in private rented accommodation, with the scheme currently supporting approximately 21, 000 recipients.

The scheme provides short-term income support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The scheme ensures that those who were renting, but who suffered a loss of income due to temporary loss of employment, can continue to meet their rental commitments.

Since the introduction of the Government’s Covid emergency response approximately 7,000 customers have been provided rent supplement support; in addition, there are some 1,000 pending applications awaiting a decision or in the process of providing the necessary documentation to the officer dealing with the claim. The number of cases that are currently in payment, awarded from the 13 March 2020, along with monthly tenancy costs by county to end June 2020 are provided in the attached tabular statement.

The Department’s response to this emergency, ensuring that the inherent flexibility of the rent supplement is available, has been extended to end-August 2020 and is being reviewed in the context of the Government’s continued response to the Covid emergency.

There is regular on-going engagement between officials in the Department and their colleagues in the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government on a range of housing issues, including rent supplement. With respect to rent arrears, where a person is finding it difficult to meet their tenancy obligations, in particular due to loss of employment, they are advised to contact their local Community Welfare Officer for support. This can include the provision of Rent Supplement and/or the use of Emergency Needs Payments addressing the customer's particular needs.

I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

Table 1: Rent Supplement Average Payment and Awards Post 13th March as at end June 2020

County

Average Payment (€uros)

Claims in Payment

CARLOW

497

105

CAVAN

453

115

CLARE

422

104

CORK

617

803

DONEGAL

373

115

DUBLIN

805

2,918

GALWAY

588

379

KERRY

540

295

KILDARE

783

352

KILKENNY

519

111

LAOIS

569

96

LEITRIM

349

34

LIMERICK

537

266

LONGFORD

390

35

LOUTH

652

114

MAYO

422

113

MEATH

768

193

MONAGHAN

403

51

OFFALY

500

46

ROSCOMMON

424

66

SLIGO

428

80

TIPPERARY

477

152

WATERFORD

277

42

WESTMEATH

547

116

WEXFORD

478

150

WICKLOW

845

278

Grand Total

674

7,129

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