In advance of the Emergency Housing Summit taking place in the Custom House tomorrow ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has expressed concern over the lack of housing options for older people throughout Ireland.
At the Emergency Housing Summit, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy will meet with each of the 31 local authorities’ Chief Executives and the Department’s senior management housing team to explore additional measures to help and to house families and individuals currently in emergency accommodation and accessing emergency state supports.
CEO of ALONE, Sean Moynihan said, “87% of all older people in ALONE housing come from homeless services. There has been an 11.4 % growth in the number of people over 60 on the housing waiting list, this increases to 18.5 % in Dublin, and we have an average of 25 applications for every housing unit. Older people on fixed incomes cannot compete in the current rental sector.”
He continued, “The government needs to focus their energy on further housing choices for older people in communities throughout Ireland. In order to make this happen, local authorities need to be supported with funding and staffing resources as they are the only bodies that can deliver on the scale that is required. However, this may mean requesting the EU to amend borrowing rules for the greater good of society.”
ALONE outlined their reasons for prioritising housing units for older people:
- Providing suitable units for older people will ease the pressure on the rental market
- Smaller units are more cost effective to build
- Smaller units are easier to locate and to secure planning permission for
- To create movement in the market, with older people downsizing etc.
- To respond to Ireland’s ageing demographic
- To address the demand for individuals and couples on the housing lists
- To avoid the next housing and homeless crisis
Moynihan concluded, “ALONE also provides housing with support to older people. While Rebuilding Ireland’s target for this type of housing is 50 units, the demand is approximately 4,200 units nationally. Repeated studies have demonstrated that ageing at home is the first choice of older people and their families. We hope that our points will be taken into consideration at the Housing Summit tomorrow as we believe that, with the support of local authorities and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, we can greatly improve the lives of older people in Ireland.”
For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person in the community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032. For more information about ALONE visit www.alone.ie