‘Declining home ownership is a clear and present danger of poverty for people’
Already, more than 1 in 4 social housing applicants are aged 50+, say ALONE
ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, has today welcomed the ESRI report into the levels of declining home ownership. The report highlights that future cohorts of retirees are likely to have substantially lower rates of homeownership than current retirees, which could more than double the proportion of older people experiencing income poverty.
Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE says “While we are concerned by these findings, we are not surprised. ALONE is already seeing the difficulties being experienced by older people who have retired and do not own their own home. Nearly half of older renters pay more than 35% of their income on rent, the largest proportion of any age group. At ALONE we often work with older people on the brink of homelessness as a result of being unable to find suitable, affordable rented housing.”
Continuing he says, “We have been campaigning for years now that we as a society need to deliver the right types of housing, in the right places. Regardless of if people own or rent people must have long-term security. This report confirms what we have been seeing on the frontline, that the current private rental sector is not an affordable or suitable place for older people.”
Already, more than 1 in 4 applicants for social housing are aged 50+. ALONE have urged Government not to delay further in implementing change.
“The effects of the private rental market are more severe on older people,” continued Moynihan. “They cannot be assured of tenure within the communities in which they live, they cannot have consistent access to GPs, other services and medical supports because they may receive notices to quit. You cannot be guaranteed to grow older at home with your family and community around you if you are renting a house on the private market. The future Ireland that this report presents is a very bleak vista for those who do not own their own homes.”
Are the government going to pay everyone’s rent over 65 years of age? The current model of the housing market we are risking have thousands of older people becoming homeless.
ALONE have highlighted in their housing report – Housing Choices for Older People – the range and quantities of housing needed for our ageing population, particularly those in the private rented sector. ALONE’s housing report also notes that Local Authority tenancies are also a key feature, with the proportion remaining relatively consistent throughout age cohorts. This indicates that good quality social housing has a significant role to play in allowing older people to age at home and in communities.
 ALONE, 2018. Housing Choices For Older People In Ireland. [online] ALONE, p.7. Available at: <https://alone.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Housing-Choices-for-Older-People-in-Ireland-Time-for-Action-1.pdf>
ALONE is a national organisation that enables older people to age at home. Our work is for all older people and aims to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. We have a National network of staff and volunteers who provide an integrated system of Support Coordination, Practical Supports, Befriending, a variety of Phone Services, Social Prescribing, Housing with Support and Assistive Technology. We use individualised support plans, to address health, financial benefits and supports, social care, housing, transport and other arising needs using technology and harness other services.