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Executive Summary

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The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme is a form of social housing support provided by all local authorities. HAP can be provided to anyone who qualifies for social housing support, including many long-term recipients of Rent Supplement. The HAP scheme involves local authorities making a monthly payment to a landlord on behalf of the HAP tenant, subject to terms and conditions, including rent limits. In return, the HAP tenant pays a contribution towards the rent to the local authority. This ‘rent contribution’ is based on the household income. It is calculated in the same way as the rent paid by a tenant of a local authority owned property.

The circumstances of households before, during and after participation in HAP are explored in this new publication – ‘Social Housing in Ireland 2019 – Analysis of Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Scheme’. Housing, employment, benefits and earnings are all explored as well as details on landlords and the rented properties.

Some data within the publication - and associated PxStat tables - were revised on 23 February 2021. This only affects local authority and Rent Pressure Zone level statistics for Cork City and Cork County. Details as to this revision and the content impacted can be found in this Information Note.

The most common employment sectors for new entrants to HAP in 2019 were Wholesale & Retail, Accommodation and Food and Health. See chapter 1, Figure 1.12.
The number of households in HAP has risen every year since the scheme started in 2014 and stood at 57,630 by 2019. See chapter 2, Table 2.1.

More than four in ten (44%) HAP tenants spent less than a year on the Local Authority Housing waiting list before entering the scheme, while just over one in ten (12%) waited seven years. See chapter 1, Figure 1.1.

The median household income of HAP tenants in employment had risen by 18% two years after entering a HAP tenancy. See chapter 2, Figure 2.2.

The Local Electoral Areas with the most HAP properties in Q2 2019 are Dundalk South (857) and Drogheda Urban (816). The local authority with the highest proportion of rental properties (registered with the Residential Tenancy Board (RTB)) which were HAP properties was Louth at 41.8%. See chapter 3, Map 3.1 and Map 3.5.

This report was developed in collaboration with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH). It's an example of the policy-relevant research projects the CSO are developing as part of the CSO’s leadership role of the Irish Statistical System. Our goal in the CSO is to maximise the variety and volume of data available to provide high quality information to the Government, businesses and citizens. High quality statistics are the foundation of evidence-based decision-making and the basis for accountability. They help people to understand the changes taking place in Ireland’s economy and in our society.

Under the auspices of the Statistics Act 1993, and in compliance with all relevant data protection legislation, the CSO is in a unique position to gather and link administrative data sources held by Government Departments and Agencies and evaluate their potential for statistical use.

This project involved the integration of datasets held by the HAP shared service in Limerick City and County Council with data from Revenue, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP), the Residential Tenancy Board (RTB) and the Local Authority housing lists. This allowed the CSO to produce aggregated analysis and outputs which were not previously available.

This integration of datasets is made possible by the use of the National Data Infrastructure (NDI). The core concept of the NDI involves the collection, maintenance and storage, on all public sector data holdings, of the associated PPSN, Eircode and Unique Business Identifier (UBI, to be developed) whenever they are relevant to Public Sector Body transactions with customers. What is needed to achieve this, in most cases, is collection of the PPSN and home Eircode in transactions with people and the UBI and business Eircode in transactions with businesses. The NDI plays an integral part in facilitating the CSO to develop new and improved statistical products for the benefit of the citizen and policymakers. It also supports the development of targeted policy interventions.

While we use increasingly varied sources of data available to inform citizens, the CSO will also ensure that we continue to protect and secure data and adhere to all relevant data protection legislation.

With increased use of PPSNs and Eircodes or a centralised data structure such as the HAP shared service, further analysis could be undertaken on other aspects of social housing support such as local authority owned housing and the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). 

Go to next chapter: Households Coming into HAP