Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell has welcomed the €5,000 increase across the three income eligibility limits for social housing.
Limerick Deputy Kieran O’Donnell was responding to confirmation by the Taoiseach that Government is set to increase social housing income limits by €5,000 across all bands and local authority areas from January 1st, 2023.
Deputy O’Donnell has campaigned to have social housing thresholds raised by a minimum of €5,000 for the last year, raising the matter with Taoiseach and Housing Minister in the Dáil as early as last February.
Deputy O’Donnell said: “I welcome the announcement by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Saturday last that Government is set to increase all social housing income limits by €5,000 across all three bands on an interim basis from 1st January next.
“I am very pleased that Government, in line with my specific proposal for a minimum €5,000 uplift for all social housing income limits made to both An Taoiseach and the Minister for Housing in the Dáil as far back as last February is now being introduced. This will make more people eligible for Social Housing and HAP(Housing Assistance Payment).
“We last had an increase in general social housing income limits in April 2011 when average earnings per employee were €35,915 according to the CSO (Central Statistics Office). However, average annual earnings are now approximately €45,324, which is over a 20% increase since 2011.
“The current three social housing income limits are Band 1 – €35,000, Band 2 – €30,000 and Band 3 – €25,000 depending on geographical location.
“This is reinforced by the main findings of the recently published ‘Review of Income Eligibility for Social Housing Support’ report under the Housing for All document, which was supported by the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party and councillors nationwide,” Deputy O’Donnell said.
According to the review, the current three band structure for social housing income limits is no longer internally logical given the movement in rents over time. It also finds there are only 7 local authorities in Ireland, being 1 in 4 out of a total of 31 local authorities, where a single adult earning at the relevant income threshold would be able to secure accommodation such that their rent absorbed less than 35% of their income.
Deputy O’Donnell continued: “Minister O’Brien recently moved five counties from band 3 to band 2 income thresholds for social housing, giving rise to a 20% increase of €5,000, which is recommended as an interim measure in the review report before more detailed research is undertaken.
“In September and October in the Dáil, I again repeated my specific proposal of an interim increase of €5,000 across all 3 social housing income threshold limits to both An Taoiseach and Minister for Housing on the basis that this latest government review report supports my request, with 24 of the 31 local authorities showing house rents absorbing more than 35% of a single adult’s income.
“I acknowledge that the Minister recently approved proposals to develop options for a revised or new social housing income eligibility model, which is proceeding under the auspices of the Housing Agency.
“Government is focused on achieving targets set out under Housing For All, which commits to delivering of 47,600 new build social homes from 2022-2026, with funding in place this year to deliver 11,800 social homes, including 9,000 new build homes.
“However, it is incumbent on us to redouble our efforts in accelerating the delivery of housing supply, particularly given the current additional pressures on the sector.“I strongly believe this interim increase of €5,000 to all social housing income limits, will make a real positive difference to people lives, making more individuals and families eligible for social housing schemes which is vital to keep pace with evolving housing needs.”
 Current Social Housing Income Limits: 137495_3dbeb746-fb85-41ab-bbb7-9c9748e5be41 (4).pdf
 Review of Income Eligibility for Social Housing Support: https://assets.gov.ie/235484/40ed4fc0-d9b7-43b5-bd96-9436f6773c73.pdf