Housing policy needs to take into account the lived experience of people highlighted in CSO survey

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
22 June 2021
  • Housing policy must reflect the needs of single people 

Welcoming the publication of the CSO’s first Life at Home survey results, Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said that all housing policy must be based on the lived experience and needs of the people, not profits of investors. Noting the key societal indicators and measures gleaned from the research, Senator Moynihan said that all policy must be based on citizen engagement.

Senator Moynihan said:

“Everyone knows that our dysfunctional housing market has let down too many people, right across Ireland, however, it is welcome to get such insight from the CSO as to what people’s lives look like at home. A safe, secure home is life’s cornerstone. In order to create sustainable, contextualised policy, the Minister must include key research such as this in creating solutions to the housing crisis.

“So for example, almost nine in ten said that they are happy living alone. Therefore the Government needs to ensure that its housing policy is open and flexible for the over 400,000 people who choose to live alone in this country. It needs to stop basing housing policy on joint incomes. A recent survey found that a single person on an average salary can only afford to buy starter homes in seven counties – Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Longford, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo. This is depriving single people of the opportunity to live in affordable accomodation in cities.

“This is further evidenced by the Government’s move to regulate investors from buying whole estates of family homes in the suburbs as opposed to also applying it for apartment developments in cities. The boom in Build To Rent developments are also ignoring the needs of single people who want to buy in inner city neighbourhoods. The CSO figures show that this policy focus is misguided – there must be a mix of housing available.

“Single people aren’t transient and single people aren’t just young. Being single isn’t just a stage of life that people should want to get out of. In fact, it is extremely damaging to create a housing policy that traps people in relationships. The Women’s Aid report published today showing the 43% increase in women reporting domestic abuse is one potential and frightening outcome of such policy.

“It’s also interesting to note that the majority of people who live with a pet said their pet has a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing. Animals play such an important part in the lives of many. It’s a really positive move to see a compassionate approach taken by the Housing Minister in the UK, where landlords will no longer be able to issue blanket bans on pets in rented accommodation. I am reiterating my calls to the Minister to ask the RTB to explore options to introduce a similar rule here.

“Pets play a huge role in many people’s lives. They provide companionship and emotional support, enhancing overall wellbeing. With a greater percentage of people renting now than ever before, we have to explore ways that allow responsible owners have their pets and companions in their rented homes.

“We need to involve people in all decision making. Home ownership is a legitimate aspiration for all people – single or married, young or old – and we need to put in place supports for collective approaches to home ownership for low and middle income earners. Policy works best when it is based on the lived reality of the society it hopes to improve. The Minister must be guided by the statistics published today.”

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