Wednesday, 3 March 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
560. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the Covid-19 rent supplement will be extended beyond 31 March 2021, given the ongoing impact of the pandemic; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11820/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 556 and 560 together.
Rent supplement continues to play a key role in supporting families and individuals in private rented accommodation, with the scheme currently supporting 19,900 active recipients.
Since the introduction of the Government’s Covid-19 emergency response in March, 8,300 applicants have been approved and remain in payment.
Rent Supplement is a means-tested payment and is available as a short-term income support to those in the private rented sector. In view of the difficulties created for many in the private rented sector that have lost significant employment income at this time, including persons in casual or self-employment, the Department of Social Protection will use the full flexibility of the scheme to provide the necessary support.
Since the introduction of HAP, rent supplement continues to revert to its original role of providing short-term support to those who have become temporarily unemployed and require income support to meet their tenancy cost whilst they seek alternative employment.
The overarching Covid-19 response in the case of rent supplement is to provide a flexible case-by-case solution for customers, providing temporary income support during the emergency for their housing costs.
I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the Department’s current flexible rent supplement response has been extended until end-June 2021 and will remain under review within the context of the overall Government response to the Covid-19 emergency.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.