Limerick TD wants income limits for social housing raised by 20 per cent

Minister of State Kieran O'Donnell.

LIMERICK Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell has called for the income eligibility limits for social housing to be raised by 20 per cent to help more people meet the criteria for social housing.

Deputy O’Donnell is advocating for a minimum increase of €5,000 across all three income bands to be eligible for social housing.

The issue has been considered in a review of social housing supports and income limits published by the Department of Housing last September as part of Government’s Housing for All Plan.

Deputy O’Donnell said that the last increase in social housing income limits was in April 2011 when, according to the Central Statistics Office, average earnings per employee were €35,915.

However, average annual earnings are now approximately €45,324, which is more than a 20 per cent increase since 2011. The current income band limits are €35,000, €30,000 and €25,000, depending on geographical location.

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“Since February, I have asked the Taoiseach and Housing Minister to ensure the current social housing income limits be increased by a minimum of €5,000 across all three income limit bands.

“In addition, there should be a 20 per cent minimum increase from five to six per cent for each additional household member, with a cap increase from 10 to 12 per cent, and a similar minimum 20 per cent increase from 2.5 to three per cent for each child, with no cap.

“There are only seven of the local authorities in Ireland where a single adult earning at the relevant income threshold would be able to secure accommodation such that their rent absorbed less than 35 per cent of their income,” he explained.

“Housing for All 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 believe changing these income thresholds to make more individuals and families eligible for social housing schemes is necessary to keep pace with evolving housing needs,” Deputy O’Donnell added.