I raised again with the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien, TD, the need to increase income eligibility limits for social housing. At present such income limits for areas like Cavan and Monaghan are totally unrealistic and need to be increased.
Below reply from Minister Darragh O’Brien to my most recent Parliamentary Questions tabled in Dáil Éireann –
For Written Answer on : 16/12/2021
Question Number(s): 342 Question Reference(s): 62782/21
Department: Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage when the income eligibility limits for social housing will be increased in areas such as counties Cavan and Monaghan in which the existing limits are totally inadequate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Applications for social housing support are assessed by the relevant local authority, in accordance with the eligibility and need criteria set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and the associated Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011 (as amended).
The Regulations prescribe maximum net income limits for each local authority, in different bands according to the area concerned, 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. The limits also reflected a blanket increase of €5,000 prior to the new system being introduced in 2011, broadening the base from which social housing tenants are drawn, promoting sustainable communities, and also providing a degree of future-proofing.
Given the cost to the State of providing social housing, it is considered prudent and fair to direct resources to those most in need support. The current income eligibility requirements generally achieve this, providing a fair and equitable system for identifying households facing the greatest challenge in meeting their accommodation needs from their own resources.
That said, Housing for All – A New Housing Plan for Ireland was published in September 2021 and, among other things, commits to a review of income eligibility for social housing. The review is underway and is examining the efficiency of the banding model while also having regard to new initiatives being brought forward on affordability and Cost Rental. The review is due to be completed before the end of the year.