We welcome the housing solutions for older people proposed in Rebuilding Ireland, the Government’s Action Plan for Housing. Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Housing Simon Coveney today announced their intention to build and buy thousands of houses and units in a short space of time to tackle homelessness and social housing waiting lists.
Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “We are happy to see that the government is recognising the housing issues amongst older people in Ireland. We welcome the implementation of pilot housing projects for older people within Dublin City Council. Repeated studies have demonstrated that ageing at home is the first choice of older people and their families. However, it is critical that the government ensure that local authorities throughout Ireland follow this lead so that housing issues for older people can be tackled throughout the country.”
In the action plan the government have also proposed to increase the target of the Housing Adaptation Grant drawdown to 10,000 homes in 2017 (up from 8,000 in 2016) and streamline the application process for older people. They intend to develop policy options for supported housing/housing with care so that older people have a wider range of residential care choices available to them. They have also proposed creating pilot competitions on housing for older people to develop smart technologies, adaptation of existing houses to meet older people’s needs and life-time communities.
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 rate 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, “It is good to see that the government are recognising the need for housing for older people and it is positive to see that deadlines have been set for the housing objectives. Every year Ireland has 20,000 additional older people and every year the housing situation grows in severity. We know what works and we know what older people need but we don’t have the resources to tackle this alone. We are happy to see the government making meaningful strides to ensure the security of homes for our aging demographic.”
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.