The Waterford Metropolitan Mayor says councillors have been giving misleading information to people on housing waiting lists.
Councillors had been recommending that people apply for the Housing Assistance Payment, unaware they could then be removed from the social housing list.
As it stands there are nearly 1,600 applicants for social housing in Waterford as well as a similar number of people on the HAP tenants list.
It was agreed that an information session would be held for councillors to clear up the confusion.
Metropolitan Mayor Seán Reinhardt feels it’s badly needed.
“that’s a very, very serious issue that’s just arisen,” he says, “not just myself, but every other councillor here has been giving misleading information to our constituents, because this is all news to me. He we are telling our constituents ‘you’re OK to do this, you’re OK to do that’ and now we’re turning out to be liars.”
Councillor Blaise Hannigan says a previous vote by the councillors is now being disregarded.
“I’ve had people in the last two or three months asking me about the HAP scheme,” he says, “their problem was that they were informed by the housing department that if they went on the HAP scheme they were removed from the housing list. Thirty two councillors passed a motion here over two years ago clearly stating that if you’re on the HAP scheme, you remain on the housing list.”
Services Director Ivan Grimes says national policy overrules Waterford Council on the issue, as HAP is governed by national legislation.
“Part of the conditions of the HAP scheme are that if a person takes a HAP rented unit they are not considered on the housing list, however they can apply for choice based letting.”