INCOME ELIGIBILITY LIMITS FOR SOCIAL HOUSING REMAIN TOO LOW

INCOME ELIGIBILITY LIMITS FOR SOCIAL HOUSING REMAIN TOO LOW – BRENDAN SMITH TD

– Govt needs to urgently publish review –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has criticised the Minister for Housing for a delay in the publication of a review of social housing eligibility.  The Minister committed to a review in a reply to Deputy Smith last October, however more than eight months later, it has still not been published.

Deputy Brendan Smith explained, “There are hundreds of people across Cavan and Monaghan who are on low incomes and are being refused mortgage approval from the banks.  Unfortunately they are also failing to qualify for social housing because their incomes are deemed too high.  If the current rates remain, these people will be caught and will never be able to own their own homes.

“Over the past number of years, the eligibility criteria for social housing have become unrealistic.  These need to be urgently examined and I raised the issue with Minister Eoghan Murphy last year.  At that stage he committed to complete a review of the income eligibility limits for social housing supports.  I had hoped that a report would have been made available by now, but we are still waiting.

“I believe this review should be published as a matter of urgency.   Unless action is taken, we are condemning people to the rental market for life and people being deprived of owning their own homes.  This is deeply unfair and must be addressed”.

-Ends-housing

Questions to the Department: Housing, Planning and Local Government

* To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government when the review of income eligibility limits for social housing will be finalised and published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Smith T.D.

* To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government his plans to improve the income eligibility limits for social housing in counties Cavan and Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Smith T.D.

 

REPLY

The Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011 prescribe maximum net income limits for each local authority, in different bands according to the area, with income being defined and assessed according to a standard Household Means Policy.

The income bands and the authority area assigned to each band were based on an assessment of the income needed to provide for a household’s basic needs, plus a comparative analysis of the local rental cost of housing accommodation across the country. It is important to note that the limits introduced at that time also reflected a blanket increase of €5,000 introduced prior to the new system coming into operation, in order to broaden the base from which social housing tenants are drawn, both promoting sustainable communities and also providing a degree of future-proofing.

As part of the broader social housing reform agenda, a review of income eligibility for social housing supports has commenced. The Housing Agency is carrying out the detailed statistical work which will underpin this review on behalf of my Department.

I expect the results of the review to be available for publication later in the summer.

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