Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (307)

Alan Dillon


307. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of applicants on the RAS and HAP housing lists respectively in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8645/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) do not have dedicated housing lists.

HAP is a form of social housing support for people who have a long-term housing need. In order for a household to qualify for HAP, they must first be assessed as eligible for social housing support by their local authority. Any household assessed as eligible for social housing is immediately eligible for HAP and those households must source their own accommodation in the private rental sector. At the end of Quarter 3, 2020, Mayo had 1,345 households in receipt of HAP.

RAS places responsibility on local authorities to meet the accommodation needs of people who are in receipt of Rent Supplement for 18 months or longer, and who are assessed as having a long-term housing need. The scheme is delivered by local authorities who source accommodation from the private market and from Approved Housing Bodies. Prior to their transfer, households awaiting RAS continue to be supported by the Rent Supplement Scheme. At the end of Quarter 3, 2020, there were 802 tenancies supported under RAS in Co. Mayo.

Details on the number of households qualified for social housing support in each local authority area is provided in the annual statutory Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA). The most recent summary, conducted in June 2019, shows that 68,693 households were assessed as qualified for and being in need of social housing support. It should be noted that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 assessment was delayed and conducted in November. Work is ongoing and the summary report of the 2020 assessment will be published in due course.

Full details in relation to the 2019 assessment are available on my Department's website at the following link: .The SSHA 2019 shows that there were 1,205 households on the Mayo County Council social housing waiting list.

For those households on a housing waiting list, the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 requires that all housing authorities make an allocation scheme determining the order of priority to be accorded in the allocation of dwellings to households qualified for social housing support and to households approved for a transfer.

Legislation also provides that both HAP and RAS are considered to be forms of social housing support. Households in receipt of HAP and RAS are, therefore, not eligible to remain on the main housing waiting list. However, acknowledging that some households on the waiting list, who avail of HAP and RAS, have expectations that they would receive a more traditional form of social housing support, recipients can avail of a move to other forms of social housing through a transfer 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, and the number of persons on the housing transfer list is also a matter for each individual local authority.

HAP and RAS continue to be effective and secure forms of social housing support, and remain a significant part of the suite of social housing options currently available across the country.