Friday, 13th June 2014

Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, Anthony Lawlor, has today (Friday) welcomed the new Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme which he feels will assist working families on low income to find suitable accommodation.

“The new HAP scheme, which will allow people to work full time, is very welcome. Under this scheme the payment, which will be issued by the local authority instead of the Department of Social Protection, will be paid incrementally depending on how much the applicant earns. This will come as a relief to struggling families who are finding it increasingly difficult to find a home.

“Presently, working families are not entitled to Rent Supplement if they work more than 30 hours per week. This seriously disadvantages hard working people who want to work full time and provide for their families. Instead, they need to join the endless local authority waiting lists and try to find private accommodation which they can feasibility afford.

“In the present economic climate with rents rising, particularly in areas such as North Kildare, this is proving more and more difficult. Consequently many families consider cutting back their hours or giving up work completely to become eligible for Rent Supplement. This practice is counter intuitive and needs to stop.

“The changes proposed in this new legislation should therefore be widely welcomed as a way to tackle the housing crisis whilst also assisting families. Furthermore, it will also allow recipients of the payment to be transferred from their private rented accommodation into a local authority house should accommodation become available.