Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
64. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his position with regard to the status of social housing applicants remaining on the social housing list having taken an offer of accommodation in the voluntary housing sector; the circumstances in which a social housing applicant may forfeit a place on a local authority housing list in the event of being allocated a property in the voluntary housing sector; if he will make changes to existing arrangements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25058/09]
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy Michael Finneran): Accepting an offer of accommodation in the voluntary sector is the same as accepting an offer of local authority accommodation, it is seen as having met the housing need of that household. It is unreasonable to expect that where a household has agreed that its housing needs can be met adequately in the voluntary sector the household would remain on a local authority waiting list on the basis of some possible future requirement for alternative accommodation.
When a household is assessed for local authority housing it is general practice for the housing authority to ask whether the household would be willing to accept an offer of accommodation in the voluntary sector should it become available. It is the choice of the household as to whether the offer of voluntary accommodation is accepted.
Notwithstanding this, should the housing needs of the household change in the future such that their existing accommodation (voluntary or otherwise) is no longer suitable for them, the household can at that stage apply to the local authority for housing more appropriate to their new needs.
I have, in the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2008 currently before the Dáil, provided for a broadening of the definition of social housing support to encompass not only local authority accommodation, but also voluntary/co-operative accommodation and accommodation in the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). In tandem with this, new procedures for the allocation of social housing support will make it easier for social housing tenants (including tenants of the voluntary sector) to transfer between the different social housing support options where required.
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