Dáil Éireann - Volume 615 - 21 February, 2006

Written Answers. - Social Housing.

  669. Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the targets he has set in regard to the number of households that will be provided under the rental accommodation scheme each year for the next ten years or for the period of time that he has set [485] such targets; the estimated cost of the scheme to be met each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6597/06]

  Mr. N. Ahern: Based on Department of Social and Family Affairs data 60,176 households were in receipt of rent supplement at the end of December 2005. More than half of these, approximately 33,000 cases, have been on the scheme for 18 months and represent the primary target group for accommodation by housing authorities under the rental accommodation scheme, RAS, or by other forms of social housing.

The Government has set the end of 2008 as the target to complete the implementation of RAS in all local authority areas. The actual numbers of households transferring by that date will depend on a range of circumstances including the eligibility conditions for RAS, the quality of rented accommodation in which recipients of rent supplement currently reside, the supply of alternative accommodation in the private rented and social housing markets and the individual circumstances of tenants. The provisional targets for transfers to RAS are 5,000 by the end of 2006, with a further 5,000 for each of the following years.

A sum of €19 million has been transferred from the Department of Social and Family Affairs Vote to my Department’s Vote from January 2006 to cover the costs of RAS. Additional funding will be provided in the same manner over the next two years at which point there will be a review of the funding arrangements for the scheme. In overall terms, the Department of Social and Family Affairs estimates that when the transfer of long-term recipients of rent supplement is complete the annual provision is likely to be in excess of €120 million.