I propose to take Questions Nos. 195 and 196 together.
Detailed and complete data on the total number of households removed from all housing authority lists as part of the process for the Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA) 2016, and the reasons for such removal, is not yet available. Once compiled, the data will be published on my Department’s website, www.housing.gov.ie.
However, provisional figures based on replies from 25 of the 31 housing authorities indicate that in excess of 28,000 households were removed from lists as part of the 2016 SSHA process. More than 50% of these households were removed following a failure to engage with their housing authority.
Under the SSHA 2016 process, all housing authorities were required to review those households who were on their housing list but were not then in receipt of housing support. This was to ensure that the details of the applicant households were up to date and accurate and that they remain eligible for, and in need of, social housing support in accordance with the criteria set down in the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and associated Social Housing Assessment Regulations. As part of this assessment, all local authorities wrote to relevant households during 2016 informing them of the assessment process and seeking updated information where necessary. All households were advised that if they failed to engage with the authority during this process that their application could be closed.
Where a household responded and was found to no longer meet the qualification criteria for social housing support in light of their updated details, they were removed from the list. Households in this category were informed by their housing authority of their removal from the list and the reason for the removal.
In the event of an initial non-response by a household to a request for updated information, guidance issued by the Housing Agency advised housing authorities to contact the household again and to use all reasonable means of communication available to them in contacting the applicant. Authorities were also advised to undertake local advertising campaigns informing households about the Summary. Where a number of attempts to contact a household failed to elicit a response, authorities were advised that it was not unreasonable to then close the household’s application. However, housing authorities were also advised that should the household subsequently respond with the information required within a reasonable time, then the application could be re-activated.