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Housing Assistance Payment is Trojan horse against social housing – Dessie Ellis TD

16 June, 2014 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has condemned the government’s plans to introduce a new system of housing assistance which will remove recipients from local authority waiting lists. He described the plan contained in the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014 as a Trojan horse which is laying the ground work for the destruction of the social housing system.

Deputy Ellis said:

“The government is trying to claim that temporary measures such as the local authority paying for private accommodation are an appropriate long term housing model.

“This is simply wrong.

“This Bill is more about further removing state responsibility to provide housing and sweeping housing needs under the carpet.

“The state last year spent €344 million subsidising private landlords under the Rent Supplement scheme. With soaring rents putting many recipients in very precarious positions, some even losing their homes, it has been proven to be an inadequate system which cannot be considered secure enough for long term housing.

“The Housing Assistance Payment was supposed to be an improvement on this scheme. Unfortunately any small benefits to the new terms are set to nought when you realise that people on HAP will be removed from housing waiting lists and be considered to be adequately housed.

“Rent subsidy represented by Rent Supplement and the new HAP scheme is a short term treatment to a long term problem of severe housing need and a shortage of social housing. The solution is not to deny that recipients have a housing need. We need to recognise the need that exists and develop policies to address that, not move the goal posts in order to deny the reality.

“HAP’s terms fly in the face of what all the experts involved in addressing housing need are saying, particularly in the recently published NESC report Social Housing at the Crossroads.

“HAP is not a solution and if the government succeeds in passing it into law, it will have wide ranging negative effects on the future of housing in Ireland and our ability to tackle housing need in the years to come.”

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