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Monday 20 May 2019

No sanction for those who refuse State rent assistance

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has ruled out withdrawing emergency accommodation from people who refuse a State rental assistance scheme - despite a recommendation to consider doing so.

A report from the Homelessness Inter-Agency Group set up by Mr Murphy noted a reluctance among a significant cohort of people to take up a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) tenancy.

The report recommended that the minister "review the continued provision of emergency accommodation to those who refuse to consider offers of appropriate housing supports" but Mr Murphy has said he does not intend to do so.

The report notes that many families have a preference for a local authority-owned property, due to the perceived greater stability and security of tenure.

Additional measures to increase the uptake of HAP have been sought by the various agencies responsible for coordinating homelessness services.

A separate report from the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE), which coordinates homelessness services in the Dublin region, also noted the trend among homeless people who do not want to take up HAP. The DHRE said around 600 families with priority on the housing list are currently in emergency accommodation and generally do not want to consider a move to HAP.

The reluctance, the authority notes, is based on a nervousness of the private rental sector and the fact that those who take up HAP are moved to the transfer list in respect of social housing options. It noted that, in March, only 12 of the 750 families in hotels moved to a HAP tenancy.

An snapshot analysis in February by the DRHE showed the majority of people (59pc) had entered homelessness due to difficulties in the private rented sector.

Irish Independent

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