A Wexford County Councillor has said that the government's plans to introduce a new system of housing assistance under the control of the Department of the Environment could potentially social housing in this state and leave those on housing waiting lists and schemes like RAS in dire straits. Cllr Anthony Kelly described the Housing Assistance Payment as a calculated effort by the state to relinquish their responsibilities towards social housing.
"Rent supplement was devised as a temporary payment for social housing applicants stuck on a waiting list," Cllr Kelly said, "It unfortunately became a tool for successive governments to use rather than tackle the inadequacies in our social housing system. It is absurd to think that the Housing Assistance Payment, which is due to replace rent allowance, can tackle the huge problems of housing waiting list and the state being unable or unwilling to take over suitable properties in the hands of NAMA."
"On the outside there seems to be benefits for people switching over to HAP, but when you consider that all applicants will be automatically taken off the social housing list, you realise that the switch over will actually hurt the applicant in the long run. As usual the government seems to be more worried about massaging the figures than dealing with the core issues."