Cork has highest number of domestic violence victims accessing rent support in Ireland

Last November, Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, said that a temporary measure granting easier access to rent supplement for domestic violence victims had been made permanent.
Cork has highest number of domestic violence victims accessing rent support in Ireland

CORK has the highest number of domestic violence victims accessing the State’s Rent Supplement Scheme, new figures have shown. File image.

CORK has the highest number of domestic violence victims accessing the State’s Rent Supplement Scheme, new figures have shown.

Last November, Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, said that a temporary measure granting easier access to rent supplement for domestic violence victims had been made permanent.

Under this protocol, introduced in response to the pandemic, victims of domestic violence can apply for rent supplement on referral by Tusla or by Tusla-funded service providers.

Where an application is made, rent supplement is provided for an initial three months and without the requirement of a means test. After three months, a further three-month extension may be provided, subject to the usual rent supplement means assessment.

After six months, if the tenant has a long-term housing need, they can apply to their local housing authority for social housing supports and, if eligible, will be able to access the Housing Assistance Payment, a social housing support provided by Local Authorities. 

Figures show that nationally, there are 45 victims of domestic violence supported under the protocol, with 214 cases supported since the protocol came into operation in August 2020.

Cork has the highest number of recipients with 35 beneficiaries to date and nine current recipients. It surpasses Dublin with 30 beneficiaries to date and seven currently accessing the scheme. Galway ranks third, with 19 people so far and two current recipients.

The figures were provided by Ms Humphreys in response to a question put forward by Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow/Kilkenny, Jennifer Murnane O’Connor.

Ms Humphreys also stated that there have been no refusals to date.

She said that access to rent supplement is “additional and complementary to the range of other supports already in place for victims of domestic violence”.

“Under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme, a supplement can be awarded to assist with ongoing or recurring costs that cannot be met from the client’s own resources and are deemed to be necessary,” she said.

“In addition, officers can make a single exceptional-needs payment to help meet essential, once-off expenditure, which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income.

“Decisions on payments and supplements are made at the discretion of the officers administering the scheme taking into account the requirements of the legislation and all the relevant circumstances of the case.”

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