Friday, 6 September 2019

Ceisteanna (1929, 1952, 1973, 1993, 2002)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

1929. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if consideration is being given to amending the financial thresholds for social housing in view of the fact that many persons find themselves outside the threshold but have no other housing options; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34922/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

1952. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the income limit for family units applying for social housing will be reviewed with a view to raising same (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35387/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

1973. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the proposed date for the completion of the net income limits for social housing assessments review; when it will be completed and published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35975/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

1993. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when he plans to publish the review of income eligibility limits for social housing; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the inadequate income limits in areas such as counties Cavan and Monaghan are depriving persons on low income of applying for local authority housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36436/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

2002. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the reviews of income limits for social housing by local authorities will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36613/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1929, 1952, 1973, 1993 and 2002 together.

Applications for social housing support are assessed by the relevant local authority, in accordance with the eligibility and need criteria set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and the associated Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, as amended.

The 2011 Regulations prescribe maximum net income limits for each local authority, in different bands according to the area concerned, with income being defined and assessed according to a standard Household Means Policy. The 2011 Regulations do not provide local authorities with any discretion to exceed the limits that apply to their administrative areas.

Under the Household Means Policy, which applies in all local authorities, net income for social housing assessment is defined as gross household income less income tax, and the universal social charge. The Policy provides for a range of income disregards, and local authorities also have discretion to decide to disregard income that is temporary, short-term or once off in nature.

The income bands are expressed in terms of a maximum net income threshold for a single-person household, with an allowance of 5% for each additional adult household member, subject to a maximum allowance under this category of 10%; and 2.5% for each child, subject to a maximum allowance under this category of 10%.

The income bands and the authority area assigned to each band were based on an assessment of the income needed to provide for a household's basic needs, plus a comparative analysis of the local rental cost of housing accommodation across the country. It is important to note that the limits introduced at that time also reflected a blanket increase of €5,000 introduced prior to the new system coming into operation, in order to broaden the base from which social housing tenants are drawn, both promoting sustainable communities and also providing a degree of future-proofing.

Given the cost to the State of providing social housing, it is considered prudent and fair to direct resources to those most in need of social housing support. The current income eligibility requirements generally achieve this, providing for a fair and equitable system of identifying those households facing the greatest challenge in meeting their accommodation needs from their own resources.

However, as part of the broader social housing reform agenda, a review of income eligibility for social housing supports in each local authority area is underway. The review will also have regard to current initiatives being brought forward in terms of affordability and cost rental and will be completed when the impacts of these parallel initiatives have been considered.