Statement by Minister Damien English – Key findings of Summary of Social Housing Assessments 2017 Published
Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government Damien English has published the 2017 Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA).
The results show that 85,799 households were assessed as being qualified for and in need of social housing support as of 28 June 2017. This represents a decrease of 5,801 households or 6.3% on the last assessment, made just over nine months ago in September 2016.
Key findings of the preliminary assessment are:
- 25 of 31 local authorities saw the number of households waiting for social housing fall;
- Single person households make up almost 45% of all households on the list;
- Almost 42% of all households on the list live in Dublin;
- Being in need of rent supplement is the most commonly cited basis of need for social housing support (41%);
- The majority (57.5%) of those qualified for social housing support are unemployed;
- The median waiting time for a household on the list now stands at just over 4 years; and
- Almost 15% of households on the waiting list have specific accommodation requirements;
Minister English noted that the results “are encouraging when 25 of 31 local authorities’ saw the number of households qualified for and in need of social housing support fall in just over nine months. This is testimony to the impact on the ground of the various housing supports being delivered over the period. These supports range from the provision of a traditional social home to the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), which continues to be a more immediate form of social housing support available to eligible households in each Local Authority area. All are playing their part in meeting the steep challenge we face.”
He continued that “there is positive news in that the majority of local authorities have reported a fall in the number of qualified households. We must, however, not forget that there are still 85,799 households who have a need for housing support, so the momentum gained through actions contained in Rebuilding Ireland, must be maintained to ensure that the ‘net need’ recorded in the SSHA continues to decrease on an annual basis”.
The SSHA will be used as the appropriate and objective basis to set targets for social housing delivery under Rebuilding Ireland. This will ensure that the right houses are built for the right people in the right places in the coming years.
All the indications are that the Action Plan is working and the results of the 2017 Assessment show that the actions to address the supply of social housing solutions are beginning to have an impact. “While there are positive indicators of the success of the action plan so far, we must not lose sight of the overall target of delivering 50,000 units by 2021” he continued. Budget 2018, which saw an increase in funding from €5.35bn to over €6bn will ensure that this can happen and reflects the confidence the Government has in Rebuilding Ireland addressing the current housing supply issues.
Minister English concluded “Both Minister Murphy’s and my objective is to repair our broken housing sector. Significant progress has been made since Rebuilding Ireland was published in 2016, with for example, over 19,000 new social housing tenancy supports being provided in 2016, and over 25,000 delivered in 2017. These figures show that progress is being maintained and built upon year on year and that we are on track to meet the ambitious but necessary targets set down for the delivery of social housing supports over the coming four year period”.
Note to Editors - NB: The key figure reported in the SSHA is referred to as ‘Net Need’ - that is the total number of households qualified for social housing support but whose need is not currently being met. This total excludes households that are:
I. Duplicate applications – where a household has applied to more than one area for social housing, only their oldest application is included in the count.
II. Already in receipt of social housing support, e.g. households currently living in local authority rented accommodation, voluntary/co-operative accommodation, accommodation provided under the HAP scheme, accommodation provided under the RAS, or accommodation provided under the SHCEP schemes.
III. On a transfer list - any household that has applied for a transfer from an existing form of social housing support.
Other figures that have appeared in various media reports over the past number of months did not exclude these categories of households from their count. Thus, they would have significantly over-estimated the amount of housing need in the country at this time.