14 Dec 2020, 17.31

The Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage will meet tomorrow when representatives from The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP), and Threshold, appear before the committee at 11am.

The purpose of the meeting, scheduled for Committee Room 2 (watch live), is a discussion on the joint report of the Society of St Vincent de Paul and Threshold entitled, The Housing Assistance Payment – making the right impact?

  • The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a form of social housing support, whereby the local authority pays rent to a private landlord on behalf of those households assessed as having a social housing need. The tenant pays a differential rent to the local authority. The rental agreement exists between the tenant and landlord.
  • Threshold is a national housing charity, with regional advice centres in Dublin, Cork and Galway, providing frontline advocacy, advice and support services to people with housing problems throughout Ireland.
  • SVP is the largest voluntary, charitable organisation in Ireland. The SVP membership of 11,000 volunteers regularly visit individuals and families who are experiencing the stress and challenges of homelessness, overcrowding, rising rents, insecure tenancy arrangements and making do in poor quality and inadequate housing.

In advance of the meeting, Committee Chair, Steven Matthews, TD, said: “The committee very much welcomes this meeting and an update regarding  HAP from two organisations who produced this most informative report a little over 18 months ago. The report was due to the contribution of clients who shared their experience of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) so honestly, despite the fact that in many cases they are facing severe stress and worry due to the challenging nature of their living situation.

“Prior to 2014, rent supplement was the only financial support available to households with a social housing need who were renting directly from a landlord in the private rented sector (PRS). HAP has increased in size and pace since 2014,when it was first piloted, but it has not been without its challenges.

“As 2020 draws to a close the meeting is a welcome opportunity to explore topics such as oversight of local authorities, standards and related matters as challenges on the Housing front are every bit as pressing as those posed by Brexit.”

For more information about the work of the Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage, see the Committee webpage

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