While the question has a broad ambit, I can only answer with reference to my own remit in terms of my responsibility for housing in this jurisdiction. The right to housing assistance is referred to in Article 34(3) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union dealing with social security and social assistance and it provides that:
In order to combat social exclusion and poverty, the Union recognises and respects the right to social and housing assistance so as to ensure a decent existence for all those who lack sufficient resources, in accordance with the Rules laid down by Union law and national laws and practices.
The Charter rights are subject to certain limits and many of these rights and principles are defined by reference to existing law and practice at the EU or national level. In accordance with Article 51 of the Charter, its provisions are addressed to the EU institutions and “to the Member States only when they are implementing Union law”. The Court of Justice has clarified this means that the fundamental rights guaranteed in the legal order of the European Union are “applicable in all situations governed by European Union law, but not outside such situations.”
In Ireland the many substantive rights regarding housing arising from legislation, including the right to be assessed for social housing support and, if qualified, placed on a waiting list for a social house or to avail of the housing assistance payment and be placed on a transfer list, are entirely consistent with the principles of the Charter.
The policy of this Government is that housing supports should be provided to those most in need and we do this in a variety of ways through, for example, the provision of the housing assistance payment, the provision of local authority owned housing, the funding of Approved Housing Bodies in the provision of housing supports and the provision of funding for homeless services. Indeed, it should be noted that the housing budget for 2019 is just under €2.4 billion. This is the highest level of funding ever provided for housing purposes in any given year in Ireland.
Continued delivery of social housing through Rebuilding Ireland and the development and implementation of further policies and measures as required in the future is the best way to ensure that the State continues to fully meet its obligations to those who need assistance to provide a home for themselves and their families.
Question No. 225 answered with Question No. 37.