06 Oct 2022

One million Irish people at risk of poverty due to 'inadequate housing subsidies'

One million Irish people at risk of poverty due to 'inadequate housing subsidies'

Almost one-fifth of the population is living below the poverty line in Ireland when housing costs are factored in. 

Latest research from Social Justice Ireland (SJI) also found that an extra 300,000 people were forced into poverty last year. 

The SJI says inadequate housing supports are actually driving people into poverty. 

Economic and social analyst Colette Bennett said: “We have argued for years that housing subsidies such as the Housing Assistance Payment and Rental Accommodation Scheme did not work. This latest study provides further proof of that.

“The poverty rate among households in receipt of housing subsidies is 22.7pc before they make any rent payments. After these payments have been made, that rate increases to 55.9pc.

“Clearly, subsidies are not working, when the rents households must pay are driving them into poverty at this rate.”

Housing and Poverty 2022 - Main Findings:

* The overall poverty rate increases from 13.3 per cent before housing costs to 19 per cent after housing costs – an increase of almost 300,000 people.
* Renters are the worst affected, with 44.7 per cent at risk of poverty after housing payments.
* For households in receipt of rent subsidies, the poverty rate increases from 22.7 per cent pre-rent payment to 55.9 per cent after rent.
* For households in Local Authority accommodation, the poverty rate increases from 37.6 per cent to 49.8 per cent after rent payments.
* Lone parents are the worst affected of all household type, with an increase in the poverty rate to 50 per cent after housing payments.
* People living with a long-standing health problem are also severely affected, with a poverty rate increasing from 33.7 per cent before housing costs to 47.4 per cent after.

The decline in Local Authority construction, discretionary nature of HAP tenancies, increase in the cost of private rents and the promotion by Government of policies which seek to rely on the private rented sector for the provision of social housing, places low-income households in precarious living situations. It is also pushing them further into poverty. 

"It should be a national priority to provide all with sufficient income to live life with dignity," the SJI report states.

"This would require enough income to provide a minimum floor of social and economic resources in such a way as to ensure that no person in Ireland falls below the threshold of social provision necessary to enable him or her to participate in activities that are considered the norm for society generally, including the provision of a decent home," it adds. 

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