State housing scheme ‘a flop’

Aisling Hedderman

The Government’s housing assistance payment (HAP) scheme has been described as a “major flop” and has lead to concerns proposed prefabs could become Ireland’s new ghettos.

The scheme, designed to help combat the housing crisis, has a poor sign-up rate with only 33 landlords offering tenancies in Dublin City.

Aisling Hedderman from the Irish Housing Network claims temporary prefabs, backed by the council, could end up becoming permanent ghettos if more landlords do not avail of the new scheme.

“The question is simple, what’s going to happen with the modular units, how are they going to move people out of them if the HAP scheme is such a big flop?

“The concern is the modular housing units are going to take the place of social housing while we’re waiting on all these landlords to sign up to HAP,” she said.

Fears the scheme has failed has led to reports Alan Kelly, the environment minister, could propose tax sweeteners in the budget to landlords who opt into the state’s rent support schemes, HAP and RAS (rental accommodation scheme).

Those who sign up for the HAP scheme must find their own private rented accommodation, and will not be regarded as local authority tenants.

Ms Hedderman said failings with the scheme will put further pressure on the private rental market.

“If people are forced to find their own landlord from the private rental sector, it’s going to end up in a battle of ordinary people approaching landlords to get them to sign up to a scheme they know nothing about. It puts the power with the landlords.

“I know women on the RAS scheme forced to pay more than what DCC [Dublin City Council] is willing to provide,” she said.

Figures released by the Dublin council show the scheme has procured 45 tenancies in Dublin, involving 33 landlords. However, several thousand people remain on the housing list.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown local authority has just one tenancy in the scheme, Fingal County Council has six and Dublin City and South Dublin councils have 24 and 14 respectively.


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