In July 2004 the Government announced a new initiative the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) to transfer responsibility for housing SWA Rent Supplement recipients who are deemed to have a long term housing need to local authorities over a four year period. The scheme will provide additional, good quality rented accommodation for people receiving rent supplement and it will help local authorities to provide long-term housing for people who need it.
This local authority supply-based approach will more effectively meet underlying long-term housing need, guarantee ongoing availability of accommodation for which subsidy is provided and help to promote supply and standards of accommodation, security of tenure and moderation in rent and subsidy levels. The new approach will enhance the effectiveness of local authorities' response to housing need while enabling the welfare-based rent supplement scheme to re-focus on more short-term needs.
The RAS is a collaborative project between the Department (DEHLG), local authorities, the Department of Social and Family Affairs and the community welfare service. Administered by local authorities the RAS is intended to provide an additional source of good quality rented accommodation for eligible persons. It is envisaged that local authorities will provide accommodation mainly through availability contracts with landlords. The use of public private partnership type arrangements to put in place long-term contracts for the supply of rented accommodation will be a feature of the scheme.
Operation of the RAS
RAS will be managed by the Department through a series of policy and advisory groups at national, regional and local levels eg. regional and local implementation groups, are being established to ensure effective ongoing liaison and co-operation locally between local authorities, health service executive and community welfare agencies.
Key to the implementation of the RAS is the appointment of a team of local authority Programme Managers. The Programme Managers will initially assist the designated lead authorities namely Dublin, Galway and Limerick City Councils, South Dublin, Donegal, Offaly/Westmeath County Councils and Drogheda Borough Council. Thereafter, they will support other authorities over the implementation period (Contact details for Programme Managers are given later in this note).
Roll out has commenced in the group of lead authorities named above. All local authorities will implement the new arrangements during 2005. It is planned that all Rent Supplement clients of 18 months or longer will be moved to RAS within the next 3 years and no later than 2008.
Work is proceeding on a number of fronts including public information sessions with landlords and accommodation agents and identification of possible RAS recipients. Starting with persons who have been in receipt of rent supplement for eighteen months or more, community welfare officers in health boards are reviewing each case and, subject to eligibility criteria, are transferring files to the relevant housing authorities for the purposes of establishing long-term housing need. Persons will be assessed as having a long term housing need where the local authority considers that they are likely to require housing support for the foreseeable future and are unlikely to be in a position to provide for their accommodation needs from their own resources.
Where a long-term housing need is identified by the local authority, suitable accommodation will be sourced for the household under the rental accommodation scheme as quickly as possible.
Recipients of Rent Supplement who want to find out more about the RAS may wish to read the leaflet provided on the Department’s website .
Providers of property who want to find out more about the RAS should note that a leaflet is being prepared which will be posted on this site when available.
Information on the scheme may be obtained from the following sources.
1. For information about the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme please contact:
The Community Welfare Officer at your local Health Board/ Health Service Executive. See the green pages of your phone book for contact details, or contact:
Supplementary Welfare Allowance Section
Department of Social and Family Affairs
Áras Mhic Dhiarmada
Telephone: (01) 704 3117 or (01) 704 3865 or (01)704 3951
2. For information on the RAS please contact Local Authority RAS Programme Managers whose details are provided below.
Local Authority RAS Programme Managers 15/5/2005
Area Programme Manager Contact details
Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan, Drogheda, Louth, Meath. Tony Kieran
Bridie Mc Brearty [email protected]
Limerick city and county, Clare, North Tipperary and Kerry Anne O’Donnell [email protected] City and County To be appointed
Waterford City and County, South Tipperary and Wexford. Michael Fitzgerald [email protected]
3. Housing Procurement and Services Section
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Email: [email protected]