Number on social housing lists trebles in two decades

Construction to restart in Dublin next year

Just under 90,000 households were on council house waiting lists in 2013, up from just over 28,000 in 1993.

Just under 90,000 households were on council house waiting lists in 2013, up from just over 28,000 in 1993.

Wed, Dec 18, 2013, 01:00

The number of families and individuals in need of social housing has more than trebled in the past 20 years, local authority figures show.

Just under 90,000 households were on council house waiting lists in 2013, up from just over 28,000 in 1993.

One in five applicants has been on their local authority’s waiting list for more than five years. Almost one in 10 has been waiting for a home for more than seven years.

The problem is most acute in Dublin. More than a third of all those waiting for council housing live in Dublin city and county, with in excess of 16,000 in the Dublin city area alone. More than a quarter of those living in Dublin have been on the waiting list for more than five years.


Construction
Minister of State for Housing Jan O’Sullivan said she intended to restart the construction of social housing, which has been suspended for several years, with a €65 million building programme during 2014 and 2015 for 650 “mainstream” houses, rather than accommodation for the elderly or those with disabilities.

However, she said these houses would mainly be built in Dublin city and county, with some construction in other cities, but little in rural areas.

“There are areas of the country where too many houses were built, that is well known. There is no need to go building houses in Leitrim and Roscommon, but there is a need in the Dublin local authority areas and the hinterland of Dublin around Kildare, as well as the core of other cities.”

A €15 million fund to enable local authorities to bring empty council houses back into use would also be available from next year. “It is not acceptable with the level of need that’s out there that we have vacant housing stock,” she said.

Almost 600 houses and apartments would also be provided through Nama by the end of this year.

Three-quarters of those on the list were living in the private rented sector, but about one in five were living with their parents, relatives or friends.

Homeless
Just 2 per cent said they were currently living in emergency accommodation or were homeless. Almost three-quarters of applicants were single, but nearly half of those had children. Nearly one-third of all applicants are under the age of 30.

Social welfare was the only source of income for almost three-quarters of those on the list. More than half said they were dependent on rent supplement.

A new category of need has been identified in the 2013 survey as those who need social housing because they have “unsustainable mortgages”.

While they are insignificant in percentage terms, 154 households on the list had been through the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process and had had their mortgage deemed as unsustainable.

Local authorities are required to undertake an assessment of social housing need every two years .