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‘Radical’ changes needed to finance social housing

This in-depth report examines Government housing policies since the 1980s, which saw a move away from construction of social housing to a more cost-effective outsourcing to the private market and the subsidisation of private landlords through Rent Supplement, the Rent Accommodation Scheme and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).  With increasing private rents, many private properties have been taken out of the reach of low income tenants, particularly in urban centres.  Lack of low-cost accommodation on the market and the reduction in new local authority construction means that Government now needs to overhaul the provision of housing to those on low incomes.

The report concludes with a comprehensive suite of recommendations, from minor scale reforms such as ring-fencing rents paid to local authorities to spend on council housing and undertaking a valuation of local authority housing stock and recording these valuations in local authority accounts; to medium scale reforms such as the suspension of the tenant purchase scheme for council housing given the shortage of available council housing. 

The conclusion of the report on the sustainability of financing council housing centres on a ‘radical restructuring of arrangements for funding social housing’ and the introduction of a cost rental model.  Similar to the recommendations made recently by Social Justice Ireland in our submission to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the authors recommend a rental model where rent is based on the cost of accommodation provision, rather than income, and where subsidies can be made available to those who cannot afford the ‘cost rent’.

To read the full report from Prof. Norris and Dr. Hayden click here.

To read Social Justice Ireland’s submission to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government on Costing Cost Rental, click here.