I propose to take Questions Nos. 262 and 263 together.
Data for the years 2011 to 2017 on the number and cost of tenancies funded under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) scheme is available on my Department's website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.
The most recent RAS data reflects the number of tenancies in place at end October 2018, when there were a total of 19,062 tenancies supported under the scheme. Data in respect of the last quarter of 2018 is being compiled by my Department.
I am providing €134.3 million to support the cost of RAS in 2019 and this funding will go towards supporting 600 additional RAS tenancies targeted to be achieved by local authorities in 2019 and the ongoing cost of supporting continuing RAS contracts in place at the end of 2018.
It is not possible to accurately predict the number of tenancies that will be supported by RAS at the end of 2019 as numbers in RAS vary as contracts end, tenants move on to other properties, landlords join or withdraw from the scheme, new tenancies are allocated or vacancies in contracted units are filled. Furthermore, towards 2021, as the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme continues to be rolled out nationally and replaces Rent Supplement, it is expected that more RAS tenancies will terminate than will commence.
Nevertheless, RAS continues to be an effective and secure form of social housing support, and remains a significant part of the suite of social housing options currently available to those who are assessed as being in need of housing support.