The number of households in need of social housing is likely to double according to a report from the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO).
The removal of households in receipt of the HAP from housing waiting lists has the potential to mask the true extent of social housing needs. Under legislation, their housing need is deemed to have been met.
Approximately 60,000 households are on local authority housing waiting lists, but a similar and growing number are in receipt of HAP payments in the private rented sector, meaning the more accurate estimate for households with a housing need may be closer to 122,000.
In many cases, HAP may provide an adequate housing solution, however, a significant cohort of HAP tenants may consider that their needs are not adequately met under that scheme and wish to be considered for long-term social housing support.
While HAP tenants had the same protections as other private tenants, “by not being direct tenants of a local authority or AHB [approved housing body], they do not have a continuous right to have their housing need met in the result of their tenancy ceasing,” it said.
The ongoing need classification would encompass the majority of HAP tenants who want long-term social housing, it said.
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has said “Not everybody who is on HAP is waiting for a permanent housing solution so it is not just as easy as adding that in on top of the list.” This was said as not all HAP tenants that are currently on HAP actually want social housing.