Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Ceisteanna (651)

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill

Ceist:

651. Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if further consideration has been given to including an ethnicity question in council social housing need assessment forms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39627/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

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.

In order to qualify for social housing support and be placed on a housing list, an applicant must be assessed by the authority concerned as meeting all of the eligibility and need criteria set down in the legislation.

My Department engaged in a process of revision of the prescribed Social Housing Support application form in collaboration with the local authority sector, which resulted in revised regulations being introduced in April 2021. There are no plans at present to include a broad ethnicity question in the social housing support application form.

Local authorities are however, obliged to prepare and adopt Traveller Accommodation Programmes (TAPs) under the Housing (Traveller Accommodation Act), 1998. In order to do so they have to be able to identify the number of Travellers living in their area who are qualified for social housing supports. 

One of the recommendations of the Traveller Accommodation Expert Review report, commissioned in 2018 by the then Minister of State,  is to amend the assessment regulations governing the Social Housing Support application form to allow for a Traveller 'ethnic' identifier so that Traveller applicants for housing supports can be identified and have their housing needs planned for. 

A Programme Board has been established by my Department to drive implementation of the recommendations. The Board has now agreed a work programme for 2021. One of the recommendations being considered in the 2021 work programme is the inclusion of a Traveller identifier on the Social Housing Support application form.