18 October 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Cork East TD, Kevin O’Keeffe has said that those persons awaiting a Housing Assistance Payment assessment should receive either rent allowance or a Supplementary Welfare Allowance payment to help defray the costs of their rent.
Deputy O’Keeffe wrote to the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection requesting that her Department investigates the possibility of allowing such a payment to be made to those who are waiting long periods of time for their HAP assessment to be completed.
“The waiting times for some HAP assessments can be many months. While waiting for it to be completed, many people struggle to cover their private rent.
“We need to remember that those who need HAP generally have fixed or limited incomes – that’s why they are applying for assistance.
“Leaving them with no support for what can be up to a number of months is unfair, and the Department should consider allowing them receive rent allowance or a SWA payment to cover some of the costs of private rent.
“The Minister response was weak, if I am being honest. We need more decisiveness from Government Ministers on issues such as this.
“If no support is provided, we risk people being evicted from their rented accommodation and either ending up coach surfing or on the streets.
“I will continue to raise this issue with the Minister, and ensure that those who are being forced to wait for a HAP assessment receive support to pay for their rented accommodation,” concluded O’Keeffe.