Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Ceisteanna (514, 515)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

514. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if HAP and similar rental assistance payments for 2018 and for 2019 will be estimated in terms of State spending; his policy in terms of maximum expenditure in these categories; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40591/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

515. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on whether HAP and similar payments provide no return for the State in that they are not adding to supply that is to either the national housing stock or State owned housing stock; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40593/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 514 and 515 together.

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) provides fast, flexible housing support to households in an area of their choice. Individuals with a housing need, who in the past were reluctant to avail of full time work as they would lose their Rent Supplement support, can now move to HAP and avail of full-time work and retain their housing support, with an adjustment in their differential rent.

Budget 2018 increased the Exchequer funding for the HAP scheme by €149m to €301 million. This will allow for the continued support of existing HAP households and also enable the additional 17,000 households targeted under Rebuilding Ireland to be supported by HAP in 2018. A further €121m for HAP has been announced under Budget 2019. This will provide for the continued support of existing HAP households and also enable the additional 16,760 households targeted under Rebuilding Ireland to be supported by HAP in 2019, as well as supporting the roll-out of the HAP Place Finder Support Service across the country.

The Homeless HAP Place Finder Service is a targeted support for homeless households who are finding it difficult to secure HAP tenancies. The Place Finder Service has been successfully utilised by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) across the Dublin local authorities since February 2015, with more than 3,000 households being supported by the Homeless HAP scheme at end Q2 2018.

The Homeless HAP Place Finder Service is now available to each of the 31 local authorities, with the options to pay deposits and advance rental payments for any households in emergency homeless accommodation, in order to secure accommodation via the HAP Scheme.

A critical focus of Rebuilding Ireland is to intensify the provision of long term local authority and Approved Housing Body (AHB) stock, particularly to accelerate new build activity. However, there is an urgent and immediate need to accommodate households, which cannot be met solely from owned stock. There were 71,858 households on local authority waiting lists as at 11 June 2018. The combination of targeted delivery under Rebuilding Ireland of 50,000 social housing homes under Build, Acquisition and Leasing schemes and 87,000 HAP and RAS supports, which will be funded by the Government out to 2021, offers both long term and flexible options to these individuals and families.

We are delivering on and in fact exceeding on both the 50,000 and the 87,000 targets. The targets under Rebuilding Ireland were carefully set against the reality of deliverables and by 2021 we will be housing more people through new social housing homes than through HAP.

At the end of Quarter 2 2018, over 37,750 tenancies were being supported by the HAP scheme, including over 9,000 additional households in 2018. I continue to keep the operation of HAP under review but I am currently satisfied with how the scheme is operating and I consider it to be a key vehicle for meeting current housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme set out in Rebuilding Ireland.