Presentation on theme: "1 Feantsa Housing Research Conference; Paris 2009: Poverty and Homelessness exploring the links in an Irish Context Presented by Patrick Nulty (Research."— Presentation transcript:
1 Feantsa Housing Research Conference; Paris 2009: Poverty and Homelessness exploring the links in an Irish Context Presented by Patrick Nulty (Research and Policy Analyst on behalf of Focus Ireland)
2 Introduction The paper has 4 sections: 1)Definitions and Causes of Homelessness - the Irish Context 2)Focus Ireland Customer Profile 3)Poverty & Homelessness 4)Conclusion: Exploring relationships between poverty and homelessness
3 Definition of Homelessness Definition of Homelessness in Ireland 1988 Housing Act: A person shall be regarded by a housing authority as being homeless for the purposes of this Act if— ( a ) there is no accommodation available which, in the opinion of the authority, he, together with any other person who normally resides with him or who might reasonably be expected to reside with him, can reasonably occupy or remain in occupation of, or ( b ) he is living in a hospital, county home, night shelter or other such institution, and is so living because he has no accommodation of the kind referred to in paragraph (a), and he is, in the opinion of the authority, unable to provide accommodation from his own resources.
4 State response to Homelessness 2000 – Homelessness: An Integrated Strategy 2002 – Homelessness: A Preventative Strategy 2008 – The Way Home: A Strategy to Address Adult Homelessness in Ireland 2008 – 2013 ‘While some people hold the view that homelessness is something that can happen to anybody, there is a growing body of research which indicated that there are underlying causes of homelessness, such as poverty and lack of housing options, and risk factors such as mental ill health, addiction, weak family supports and experience of institutional case, which put certain households at increased risk of becoming homeless.’ (The Way Home, 2008, p15)
5 The Way Home 2008 Included an explicit reference to the FEANTSA ETHOS typology of homelessness (p16), and a commitment to undertake ‘a review of the definition of homelessness for operational purposes’ (p54). Signals a shift towards addressing households’s long term housing needs based on prevention, housing and support. Development of Pathways to Home by Dublin Homeless Agency in 2009. Debate in Ireland has focused on definitions. There is now a shift towards examining causes and providing policy solutions.
6 Focus Ireland: What we do Founded 1985 Focus on youth services, families and single adults Crisis interventions Prevention Long term housing with support
7 Focus Ireland: Customer Profile The role of database Information gathered: source of income, reason for homelessness, length of time homeless, type of accommodation etc. Need to gather information on Focus Ireland customers to ensure provision of services and policy responses reflect needs of households at risk of becoming or remaining homeless.
8 Data Accommodation Type: The type of accommodation most frequently occupied by Focus Ireland clients in 2007 was hostel accommodation, with 2,000 (30.3%) clients stating that they resided in hostels. The second most common type of accommodation for Focus Ireland customers in 2007 was staying with friends / family (11.5%), Reason for becoming homeless: family breakdown (15%), Addiction (13%), Relationship breakdown with partner (8%) Income: Disability Allowance (28%), Minimum Welfare Payment (16%0, Unemployment Assistance (14%), One Parent Family payment (11%) The Social Welfare payment is €24.35 below the poverty line for a single adult. It €73.81 below the poverty line for a lone parent with one child. Finally it is €138.58 below the poverty line for a couple with two children.
9 Measurement of Poverty in Ireland Irish Context: National Anti-Poverty Strategy 1996 – ‘People are living in poverty, if their income and resources (material, cultural and social) are so inadequate as to preclude them from having a standard of living, which is regarded as acceptable by Irish society generally. As a result of inadequate income and resources people may be excluded and marginalised from participating in activities which are considered the norm for other people in society.’ Consistent Poverty - poverty occurs where a household lives 60% or less of median income and lacks at least two of the eleven basic items EU Survey on Income and Living Standards - that 5% of the Irish population lived in consistent poverty. In addition one-third of households below the sixty per cent poverty line had experienced debt within the last twelve months 20% of households in social housing experience ‘consistent poverty’ compared to just 2.5% in owner occupation
10 Deprivation Indicators EU-SILC 2007 Percentage of the population reporting each type of deprivation for 2007 Without heating at some stage in the last year 5.9 Unable to afford a morning, afternoon or evening out in the last fortnight 8.4 Unable to afford two pairs of strong shoes 3.0 Unable to afford a roast once a week 3.9 Unable to afford a meal with meat, chicken or fish every second day 2.2 Unable to afford new (not second-hand) clothes 5.2 Unable to afford a warm waterproof coat 2.3 Unable to afford to keep the home adequately warm 3.5 Unable to afford to replace any worn out furniture 13.1 Unable to afford to have family or friends for a drink or meal once a month 9.6 Unable to afford to buy presents for family or friends at least once a year 2.9
11 Housing Need and Poverty 56,000 households on housing waiting list Two thirds of households on the housing list were in receipt of social welfare as their primary source of income (HNA, 2008) The vast majority of households on the housing list live on a low income. Forty-five per cent of households have an income between €10,000 and €15,000. Overall eighty-six per cent of households have an income below €20,000. ‘Residualisation’ of Social Housing ( Drudy & Punch 2004 ) Nearly 40% of people in the lowest income decile are living in accommodation that is rented at below the market rate or rent free (e.g. local authority or voluntary housing). By contrast over 90% of persons in the top income decile are living in owner-occupied housing. The average income of persons living in accommodation that is rented at below the market rate or rent free was €14,943 in 2007, compared to €19,896 for persons living in accommodation which was rented at the market rate or €25,485 for persons living in owner-occupied accommodation.
12 The relationship between poverty and homelessness “There is an argument to be made that rather than view poverty as a cause of homelessness, it would more appropriately fit into the category of an ‘at risk factor’. Ones ability to access secure and appropriate housing is only determined by income if inadequate social housing provision or housing supports are not available.” (pg.10)
13 Solutions Implement and Resource The Way Home (2008) Emphasis on prevention, housing and support. Deliver more Social Housing. At present this only accounts for 9% of overall housing stock. National Economic and Social Council recommended in 2005 that 200,00 social units were required by 2012. Protect incomes of people on social welfare despite fiscal situation in Ireland. Homelessness part of an unequal housing system which requires a shift in policy and values to be addressed.