Farren welcomes new Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme.
Issued : Friday 13 June, 2014
Labour Councillor, Martin Farren, has welcomed the new payment scheme designed to replace rent supplement for people who qualify for social housing support.
“People on a housing list can take up HAP and seek a transfer to a council house, a RAS-type unit, or accommodation from a housing association. Provided suitable accommodation is available, tenants will be able to move through the system as their needs and circumstances change. A tenant who starts out in HAP may still move to a council house or other accommodation type in the future.
Applicants will be able to get the new HAP (housing assistance payment) if they are in long-term receipt of rent supplement and qualify for social housing support”, he said.
“Labour Minister, Jan O’Sullivan, has introduced HAP to improve the circumstances of the some 40,000 households that have been in receipt of long term rent supplement payments so that they can enter into employment, live in accommodation that meets appropriate standards and access other social housing supports, if they so wish, through the transfer list.
It should be recognised that not everyone in receipt of rent supplement, or who will be in receipt of HAP, will want a traditional form of social housing support. However access to those supports will be provided where required. The intention is for housing authorities to give appropriate weight, in terms of making allocations, to persons on the transfer list providing the proper balance in terms of allocating other forms of social housing support, between the waiting list and the transfer list, such that those on the transfer list would not be disadvantaged.
Under HAP, you find your own accommodation, and provided your council is happy that it is up to standard and within the rent limits, you can get the benefit. HAP makes sure that the standards of your accommodation are right, and that your landlord is fully compliant.
You will pay your contribution to the rent to the council in line with the council rents payable in your area, so you won’t be paying more or less than you can afford or than tenants in the council system.
If your main income is from social welfare, your rent contribution will be deducted and paid to the council. The council will pay the full amount of the rent, up to the maximum limit, direct to the landlord on your behalf.
Unlike rent supplement, you can take up full-time work and continue to get HAP. Obviously, as your income goes up, your contribution to the rent will go up too.
If you are getting HAP, you can STILL GET A COUNCIL HOUSE. The difference is that you will transfer from HAP. Getting HAP means that you are in the social housing system. You can therefore access other forms of housing if you want to, e.g. from the council (including being able to purchase under the incremental purchase scheme) or a housing association, according to the transfer rules in your council.”