Independent TD Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Housing for the the amount of discretionary enhanced payments each month in each county since HAP was established.
His question revealed that the number of HAP supported households in Kilkenny at end of Q2 of this year stood at 800.
In a written response, Minister Eoghan Murphy said: “The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Scheme plays a vital role in housing eligible families and individuals.
“There are currently more than 29,800 households having their housing needs met via HAP and over 20,000 landlords and agents in receipt of HAP payments.
“A weekly average of 348 HAP tenancies have been set up during 2017, and more than 420 a week averaged over the last 5 weeks.
“Recognising the pressures in the rental market, the Government increased the maximum rent limits available under the HAP scheme across the country with effect from 1 July 2016.
“Furthermore, additional flexibility above the existing HAP rent limits was made available to all local authorities operating the HAP scheme from the same date.
“Each local authority has statutory discretion to agree to a HAP payment up to 20% above the prescribed maximum rent limit in circumstances where it is necessary, because of local rental market conditions, to secure appropriate accommodation for a household that requires it.
“It is a matter for the local authority to determine if the application of the flexibility is warranted on a case by case basis.”
The number of HAP supported households where additional flexibility was utilised by the local authority came to 14 – or 1.8% of the total number households in receipt of the financial support.
“The increased rent limits introduced by the Government last year, together with the additional discretion available to local authorities to exceed the maximum rent limit where necessary, are allowing HAP households to find suitable accommodation and willing landlords.
“Particular additional targeted supports are available to homeless households in the Dublin and Cork City regions to assist them in finding accommodation in the private rental market, with the support of HAP.
“I recently confirmed that the Place Finder Service available in these local authorities will be rolled out to all other local authorities.
“It should be borne in mind that the HAP scheme was implemented on a statutory phased pilot basis and rolled out across local authorities incrementally over the last number of years. The scheme became a national scheme on 1 March 2017.”