Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Ceisteanna (286)

Catherine Murphy


286. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will publish and-or provide the most recent recommendations made by the HAP practitioners forum to him and his responses to those recommendations over the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49310/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme was rolled out in four waves between September 2014 and March 2017. The nationwide rollout of the scheme was completed with its introduction, on 1 March 2017, to the administrative areas of Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

HAP plays a vital role in housing eligible families and individuals.  At the end of Q2 2019, over 62,700 HAP tenancies had been set-up since the scheme commenced, of which there were more than 48,000 households actively in receipt of HAP support and over 28,000 separate landlords and agents providing accommodation to households supported by the scheme. 

A governance structure was put in place for the implementation of the HAP scheme.  A HAP Oversight Group, co-chaired by the Secretaries General of my Department and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, was established to oversee the implementation of the scheme.  A Project Board, which reports to the HAP Oversight Group, is responsible for the detailed implementation and delivery of the scheme.

A number of subgroups were established to support the rollout and implementation of the HAP scheme, including an ICT System Subgroup, Communications Subgroup and the HAP Practitioners Forum.

The HAP Practitioners Forum comprises of representatives of all HAP local authorities.  Rather than being a vehicle for making formal recommendations, the forum is a key information exchange and problem-solving group for the HAP project.  The Forum is charged with ensuring that any operational issues arising are discussed and addressed and that there is consistent implementation of the scheme across local authorities.   

The Housing Agency assists in the organisation of meetings of the HAP Practitioners Forum.  The Forum has met on 5 occasions to date:

13 June 2018

21 June 2017

6 December 2016

14 June 2016

23 March 2016

The presentations and discussions that take place at the forum include updates from my Department and the HAP Shared Services Centre, as well as relevant topics such as Standards for Rented Housing Regulations; Place Finder Service; Changes to RTB Legislation; Rent Predictability Measure and transfers from Rent Supplement.

I am satisfied with the governance structures in place to oversee the implementation of the HAP scheme but my Department will keep these under review as part of its wider oversight of the implementation of the Scheme.