Tipperary Fianna Fáil TD, Jackie Cahill has said that the Department of Social Protection will force people into homelessness through their policy of withdrawing rent supplement from people who have been unable to secure housing under the Housing Assistance Payment scheme.
Deputy Cahill was commenting after a number of constituents contacted him informing him that they have lost their rent supplements despite their best efforts to secure accommodation on the HAP scheme.
The HAP is being made available to persons in receipt of Rent Supplement for over 18 months. It is designed to provide longer term accommodation security to people, and, in particular, families.
“HAP is a good scheme. However, it’s a stop gap measure that the Government have developed to make up for their poor delivery of social housing.
“However, in large parts of Tipperary, there simply aren’t enough landlords coming forward with suitable accommodation to meet potential demand.
“Also, there are also some landlords who are accepting rent supplement but who are unwilling to engage with the HAP scheme.
“In these circumstances, the Department of Social Protection need to be aware of this, and not put undue pressure on rent supplement recipients.
“If people lose their rent supplement, they will not be able to pay their rent, and then where does that leave them? Homelessness is a very real possibility.
“If they do their level best, they shouldn’t be penalised.
“The Minister, in a parliamentary reply to me, assures me that no one will lose their rent supplement, but it’s clear what’s happening on the ground doesn’t reflect what the Minister is saying, which in itself, is very concerning.
“This is a completely unfair situation. If someone tries, but fails to secure accommodation under the HAP scheme as a result of poor availability, then they must not be penalised,” concluded Cahill.