An estimated 16,000 households nationwide could be eligible to apply for social housing on foot of today’s approval by Government to increase social housing income limits by €5,000, Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell has said.
Welcoming the news, Deputy O’Donnell pointed out that the increase broadens the base of households eligible for social housing supports. He said: “This is something I have campaigned on consistently since last February and I’m very pleased that these changed thresholds will assist those households requiring critically urgent supports, but who otherwise would not be eligible to secure them.”
Deputy O’Donnell continued: “Notwithstanding the increase in the thresholds for Carlow, Clare, Galway County, Laois and Westmeath last month, thresholds have remained unchanged since 2011, while rental accommodation costs have increased significantly nationwide. For example, the standardised average rent in new tenancies increased from €921 in 2016 to €1,415 in 2021 (representing a 54% increase), while the median annual real household disposable income increased from €38,540 to €46,471 (a 21% increase) over the same period.
“I have argued for some time now that thresholds must take into account the rising cost of rental properties.
“Of our 31 local authorities around Ireland, just seven offer rental accommodation to an adult earning under the income threshold at a cost of less than 35% of their income. That means that anyone seeking to rent a social housing property in 24 local authority areas finds more than 35% of their earnings going on rent.
“I understand that work will commence shortly on scoping and developing options for a new social housing income eligibility mode.
“However, in the interim, today’s approval by Cabinet to increase the threshold by €5,000 in all 31 of our local authorities will make a significant difference to many. An estimated 16,000 households could be eligible from 1st January next, with 4,000 applying for HAP.
“I’m very pleased that approval has been given to roll this increase out from January 1st next year – a few short weeks away. I know the very real positive difference this move will make,” Deputy O’Donnell said.