Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Humanitarian Assistance Scheme
1167. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the amount of paid out by the humanitarian assistance scheme in each of the years 2010 to 2019 and to date in 2020, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3383/20]
1168. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the average waiting times for payment under the humanitarian assistance scheme in each of the years 2016 to 2019 and to date in 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3384/20]
1173. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the details of the funding available to businesses and individuals affected by flooding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3709/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1167, 1168 and 1173 together.
The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is the lead Department for severe weather emergencies and the Office of Public Works (OPW) has responsibility for capital flood relief activities. However, my Department has an important role to play in assisting households in the immediate aftermath of emergency events such as flooding under the humanitarian assistance scheme.
The purpose of the humanitarian assistance scheme is to provide income-tested financial support to people whose homes are damaged and who are not in a position to meet costs for essential needs, household items and in some instances structural repair.
Statistics are not maintained on the average waiting times for payment. However, I can assure the Deputy that supports are provided to those affected as swiftly as possible given the emergency nature of these situations. Officials in my Department’s Community Welfare Service closely monitor the situation on the ground and engage with the relevant local authorities and other agencies to ensure a co-ordinated and immediate response.
Emergency income support payments to cover essential items such as food, clothing and personal items are quickly issued in the immediate aftermath of the weather event. Supports towards the replacement of white goods, basic furniture items and other essential household items may take longer as it is not until the flood water abates and houses dry out that the full extent of the damage to homes becomes known. The longer term supports covering remedial works such as plastering, relaying of floors, electrical re-wiring and painting can take several months before this stage of the response is completed.
The scheme was activated in February in response to the recent ongoing flooding event. A small number of applications have been received to date and further applications are expected in the coming weeks.
The tabular statement below shows expenditure on the scheme since 2010.
In addition, the Government recently announced two temporary emergency support schemes for small businesses that have been unable to secure flood insurance and have been flooded following storms, and for community, voluntary & sporting bodies affected by the recent flooding. The Irish Red Cross is administering these schemes on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.
Tabular Statement - Expenditure on the Humanitarian Assistance Scheme, 2010 – 2020