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Parliamentary Question re: Housing Assistance Payment

Question No. 438

Chun an Aire Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil:

To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government:

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide an update on the roll out of the Housing Assistance Payment Scheme; and when he expects it to be rolled out by Kildare County Council..

– Anthony Lawlor.

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 28th April, 2015.

Ref No: 16728/15

REPLY

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly)

The implementation of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a key Government priority and a major pillar of the Social Housing Strategy 2020, which I published on 26 November 2014. The HAP scheme will bring all social housing supports provided by the State under the aegis of local authorities. The scheme will remove a barrier to employment by allowing recipients to remain in the scheme if they gain full-time employment. HAP will also improve regulation of the rented accommodation being supported and provide certainty for landlords as regards their rental income.

Further to the enactment of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 on 28 July 2014, the first phase of the HAP statutory pilot commenced with effect from 15 September 2014 in Limerick City and County Council, Waterford City and County Council and Cork County Council. HAP commenced in Louth, Kilkenny, South Dublin and Monaghan County Councils from 1 October. Subsequently, on 18 December, Dublin City Council became part of the statutory HAP pilot, with a specific focus on accommodating homeless households. Dublin City Council is implementing the HAP pilot for homeless households in the Dublin region on behalf of all 4 Dublin local authorities.

There are now over 1, 6 00 households in receipt of HAP across the local authority areas taking part in the statutory pilot scheme.

During the legislation’s passage through the Oireachtas in July 2014 an undertaking was given that a progress report would be prepared for the relevant Oireachtas Committee. I can confirm that d ata from the pilot sites has been gathered and I submitted a report to the Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht last week . Based on the findings of that review, consideration is currently being given to the sequencing of a further cohort of local authorities to commence HAP on an incremental basis this year. While no implementation date has yet been confirmed , my Department is in contact with Kildare County Council in relation to their inclusion in the next phase of the pilot.