On 14 June 2020, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection announced measures to make Rent Supplement more readily available to victims of domestic violence.
The Rent Supplement Scheme is a means-tested welfare subsidy for those in private rented accommodation who cannot afford to pay rent due to a substantial change in circumstance.
Under these changes, victims of domestic violence can get immediate access to Rent Supplement, covering deposit payments and rent costs, for a three month period to ensure that they are not prevented from leaving their home because of financial concerns.
After the initial three-month period, a further three-month extension may be provided subject to the usual Rent Supplement means assessment.
If the tenant has long-term housing needs after six months, they can apply to their local housing authority for social housing supports and, if eligible, will be able to access HAP. It is open to them to make this application at any stage, while in receipt of rent supplement. An income threshold assessment will apply to that application for social housing support.
The process of accessing Rent Supplement in these circumstances will be based on referrals from Tusla-funded services as well as nominated contact points in An Garda Síochána and the HSE.
This is a welcomed measure to provide important support to those suffering from domestic violence, particularly due to the increased vulnerability of victims during the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the official press release from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection click here.
For further information on the Rent Supplement Scheme click here.
If you currently feel unsafe in your home, contact Women’s Aid for free, confidential and immediate support.