Lone parents and minority groups suffering most from housing divide

The most vulnerable sections of society are often either in overcrowded, inadequate housing – or in emergency accommodation.
Lone parents and minority groups suffering most from housing divide

Digital Desk Staff

A new report on the growing divide in access to housing has highlighted how the most vulnerable sections of society are often either in overcrowded, inadequate housing – or in emergency accommodation.

The report, compiled by both the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Economic and Social Research Institute, shows lone parents, people with a disability, and migrants are among groups consistently disadvantaged in our housing system – and at least one support organisation says it does not believe the Government's Housing for All plan will fix it.

As the Irish Examiner reports, 'Monitoring Adequate Housing in Ireland', shows that average rent has increased substantially, and at a faster rate than average earnings, putting homes out of reach of vulnerable groups.

Some key points were that lone parents have higher rates of affordability issues (19 per cent) when compared to the general population (5 per cent) and are particularly vulnerable to housing quality problems such as damp and lack of central heating (32 per cent compared to 22 per cent of total population).

When it comes to ethnic minority groups, they have a significantly higher risk of living in overcrowded conditions.

More than 35 per cent of Asian/Asian Irish, 39 per cent of Travellers and over 40 per cent of Black/Black Irish live in overcrowded accommodation, compared to 6 per cent of the total population.

Meanwhile, 29 per cent of those living with a disability experience housing quality issues, when compared to those without a disability (21 per cent).

Mortgage arrears

People with a disability are also more likely to report an inability to keep their home warm and get into arrears on rent or mortgage payments.

The publication has prompted UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing Balakrishnan Rajagopal to question whether the Government is doing enough to house to marginalised communities here.

He said he was “quite shocked" at the situation faced, in particular, by single or lone-parent households who, he said, seem “particularly disadvantaged on nearly all housing rights dimensions assessed by this report".

He called on the Irish government to “act now”.

“Single parents and their children account for 53 per cent of all homeless families, and are much more likely to experience poor housing than other households, and they face nearly four times as frequently compared to the general population affordability problems,” he said.

Mr Rajagopal added that it raises a fundamental question: How are we actually treating as a society single parents and their children?

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