Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
273. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, further to Parliamentary Question No. 967 of 6 October 2009, the number of rental subsidy recipients who have been transferred by Kildare County Council to the rental accommodation scheme since 1 January 2009 to date in 2009; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that, while the RAS does not preclude applicants who are in part-time employment, the de facto situation in County Kildare is that such applicants are precluded by Kildare County Council, who have adopted a policy of offering RAS accommodation exclusively to persons in receipt of the maximum level of rent supplement, therefore excluding everyone in part-time employment; if he is satisfied that this national scheme should be implemented in such a limited fashion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36160/09]
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy Michael Finneran): Over the period January to end of August 2009, Kildare County Council have transferred 60 households from rent supplement to the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) or other forms of social housing, with a total of 692 households transferred since the commencement of the scheme in 2005.
The qualifying criteria for RAS are that a household must be in receipt of rent supplement, usually for 18 months or more and have a long term housing need. Households in part-time employment or households not in receipt of the maximum level of rent supplement are not precluded from the scheme. It is not national policy that such households would be delayed or deferred from transfer to the scheme on the basis of the amount of rent supplement they receive. Indeed, my Department has over the past number of years introduced a flexible financial model for RAS, to ensure that households such as this could be transferred to the scheme. While it is a matter for each individual authority to manage the transfer of rent supplement households to RAS, the Council has advised that they are implementing the scheme in accordance with national policy and that they will not exclude persons from the scheme who are in part-time employment.
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