Housing assistance payment has helped 4,700 families stay in homes

Some 1,570 children now living in emergency accommodation

Willie O’Dea: “The difficulty is that while supply takes time, there are 1,570 children living in emergency accommodation”

Willie O’Dea: “The difficulty is that while supply takes time, there are 1,570 children living in emergency accommodation”

 

The Housing Assistance Payment (Haps) has helped almost 5,000 people remain in their homes, according to Minister of State Kevin Humphreys. He defended the introduction of the scheme and the decision not to increase rent supplements.

A review of rent limits earlier this year found that the impact of increasing limits at a time of constrained supply “would increase costs disproportionately for the exchequer, with little or no new housing available to recipients”.

He said that many voluntary groups including the Peter McVerry Trust had welcomed what the Minister for the Environment had done on this issue.

He said 4,700 families had been assisted by this more flexible scheme. “Rather than increasing limits, rent supplement policy will continue to allow for flexibility where landlords seek rents in excess of the limits for both existing customers and new applicants.”

Fianna Fáil social welfare spokesman Willie O’Dea said that there were more than 64,000 people in receipt of rent allowance. “The difficulty is that while supply takes time, there are 1,570 children living in emergency accommodation.”

He said rents nationally are more than 20 per cent above rent supplement levels for a typical property. In urban areas the gap is wider, up to 40 per cent in some cases.

Mr Humphreys said the department, in conjunction with housing charity Threshold, “operates a special protocol in the Dublin and Cork areas, where supply issues are particularly acute, with plans under way to extend it to Galway city”.

And under the exceptional needs payments scheme assistance was also provided towards rent deposits or rent advances. He said more than 2,100 payments were made this year, at a cost of €1.1 million.