Housing for older people is not included in report’s recommendations
Dublin, 17th June 2016 ALONE responded to the Oireachtas Committee’s recommendations on housing crisis and homelessness. The committee has recommended that local authorities provide 50,000 new social housing units by 2020 and the charity is calling on the government to ensure a percentage of these units are allocated to older members of our communities.
Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “We are very concerned that the committee have failed to recommend any solutions for older people in the special housing needs section. We have a dramatically ageing population and while we welcome any measures to solve the current emergency, the government also needs plan for the long term housing needs of our population to avoid this crisis happening again. We are already seeing a crisis emerging among older people and it will only get worse unless dedicated action is taken.”
He continued, “We call on the government to build accommodation now to facilitate the emerging demographics of older people. There is a huge demand for 1 and 2 bed units, 44% of households on the social housing waiting lists are for singles. We would like to see each of these new housing developments, recommended by the committee, include a percentage of smaller units dedicated to older people, similar to the Housing Agency’s Part V Programme. This would ensure that older people are well integrated within their communities and can access local amenities.”
The charity also commented on the committee’s recommendations for the rented sector: “In recent years we have seen a huge increase in the number of older people come to ALONE because they are no longer able to afford their private rented accommodation. If the landlord decides to increase the rent, or if the older person is no longer able to work, they have little or no hope of securing private rented accommodation again. The current market rates also means that many older people are currently living in below standard private rented accommodation, afraid to complain in case the landlord asks them to leave. While we don’t believe that the private rental sector is suitable for older people’s housing needs as a long term solution, we welcome the measures to increase security of tenure.
Moynihan concluded, “The number of over 65s living in the state is expected to reach 1.4m by 2046. What will happen when this number of people stop working? It is critical that we start planning now for the housing needs of this ageing population. We commend the work of the committee on housing and homelessness but housing for older people needs to be included in the Government’s overall housing plan, sooner rather than later.”
For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in the community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032. To make a donation and help aid ALONE’s work visit www.alone.ie
 CSO, Population Labour Force and Projections 2016-2046, http://www.cso.ie/en/newsandevents/pressreleases/2013pressreleases/pressreleasepopulationandlabourforceprojections2016-2046/