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Housing and poverty: official Irish data sources Joe Finnerty School of Applied Social Studies, & Institute for Social Science in 21 st Century, University.

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Presentation on theme: "Housing and poverty: official Irish data sources Joe Finnerty School of Applied Social Studies, & Institute for Social Science in 21 st Century, University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Housing and poverty: official Irish data sources Joe Finnerty School of Applied Social Studies, & Institute for Social Science in 21 st Century, University College,Cork. Presentation at the UCC summer school on Conceptualising and Measuring Poverty 19 th June 2012

2 Content of presentation ● introduction to the main, publicly available, official, regularly produced, quantitative, Irish data sources (survey or administrative) relating to housing poverty, and to housing and poverty. ● some general remarks on the importance of paying attention to the context of these stats (facilitating an understanding what they mean, their uses and limitations) - the production and reception of housing / poverty data, using the concept of tenure and of homelessness statistics by way of illustrations.

3 Structure of presentation ● PART 1 DATA SOURCES NOT DISCUSSED – NGO HOUSING / POVERTY DATA ● PART 2 HOUSING COSTS, HOUSING DEPRIVATION and HOMELESSNESS in the framework of IRISH ANTI-POVERTY STRATEGIES ● EXCURSUS #1 – 'tenure' as an indicator of housing poverty ● PART 3 OFFICIAL SURVEY SOURCES OF HOUSING / POVERTY DATA: 1.SILC, 2.HBS, 3.Census of Population ● PART 4 ADMIN SOURCES OF HOUSING / POVERTY DATA: 4.Social Housing Needs Assessment, 5.Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services, 6.Department of Environment, Community and Local Government stats online, 7.Central Bank stats on mortgage arrears ● PART 5 OFFICIAL SURVEY AND ADMIN SOURCES OF HOMELESSNESS DATA: 8.Counted In, 9.PASS, Census 'new question', 11.3-yearly counts under the 1988 Housing Act, section 9, 12. rough sleeper count in Dublin area ● EXCURSUS #2 – the contexts of homelessness measures

4 PART 1 Data sources not discussed

5 PART 1 Data sources not discussed (1) 'Non-official' data = data produced by a variety on NGOs in the areas of Irish housing / poverty and homelessness, such as ● Simon Communities of Ireland ● Focus Ireland ● RESPOND! ● Threshold – see their websites for relevant reports and data

6 Data sources not discussed (2) ● This data is typically based on the NGO admin data on uptake of services such as hostel accommodation, food provision, etc. over a given period ● In many cases, NGOs will produce robust stats for their own organisation ● Where the NGO, or a coalition of NGOs, have a rigorous research function, they may provide estimates of the size of a relevant population ● e.g. the MakeRoom coalition ● See O'Sullivan (2008) 'Researching homelessness in Ireland: explanations, themes and approaches' in Downey (ed. ) Perspectives on Irish Homelessness ● some reflections on data produced by advocacy groups occurs in the later slides on the 'politics of measurement'.

7 PART 2 HOUSING COSTS, DEPRIVATION AND HOMELESSNESS IN IRISH ANTI-POVERTY STRATEGIES

8 INADEQUATE RESOURCES ‘UNACCEPTABLE’ STANDARD OF LIVING EXCLUSION FROM PARTICIPATION IN SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR THAT IS THE NORM Tripartite poverty definition/measurement, NAPS Sharing in Progress 1997 INCOME DEPRIVATION

9 Using the NAPS poverty framework, the presentation will focus on the main data sources classified by: -housing costs (mortgage and rental payments) - relevant to the income (and expenditure) dimensions to poverty -housing facilities and quality - relevant to the deprivation dimension to poverty -indirect or broader indicators of housing and poverty – those housing variables that can be correlated with income and deprivation variables (principally tenure) -homelessness, where households are without 'accommodation' that is in the form of permanent private housing units (to which these variables re costs, quality, and tenure, ipso facto cannot apply) Homelessness is first discussed in the mid-term revised NAPS, Building an Inclusive Society (2002)

10 EXCURSUS #1 'SOCIAL HOUSING' AS A (TENURE-BASED) INDICATOR OF POVERTY?

11 Key housing concept:TENURE ● from the French tenir, to hold ● refers to nature or basis of occupancy by the household of its accommodation. ● See Doling, 1997, Comparative Housing Policy

12 3 main tenures in Ireland I.Owner occupation ● Either mortgaged ● Or owned outright II.Private renting (from private for-profit landlord) III.Social renting -from local authority (‘public’ not-for-profit landlord) -from housing association (private not-for-profit landlord) See O’Connell, (2008), The state and housing in Ireland: ideology, policy and practice

13 CONTEXT: Social housing as indicator of problems...or solutions? ● % of households in social housing tenure and / or in receipt of rent supplement is commonly used as an indicator of housing poverty (e.g. Edwards and Linehan, City of Difference) ● But it may be argued that this is actually an indicator of welfare responses to housing poverty (the extent of housing welfare 'effort')

14 Social housing as indicator of problems...or solutions? ● Part of the answer lies in the unit of analysis being used ● At household level, the focus tends to be on housing costs and quality of accommodation ● At neighbourhood level, the focus may also include issues around tenure, social mix and neighbourhood quality

15 Another part of the answer lies in the relation between: ● size of annual social housing tenancy allocations (new build + casual vacancies) and ● the social profile of tenants allocated these tenancies Broadly speaking, the smaller the annual allocation, the more socially excluded will be the households allocated tenancies ● This is not to say that the most socially excluded households will necessarily be allocated tenancies, as this process is inevitably mediated by political and administrative judgements about what are priority needs: a case in point are single homeless households (Finnerty and O'Connell 2006, Building on Reality. Cork: Cork Social Housing Forum)

16 Another part of the answer... Note the distinction made earlier between: ● 'housing poverty', and ● 'housing and poverty' ● The policy rationale of social housing provision is to alleviate housing poverty (good quality housing – alleviating housing deprivation, plus at an affordable rent – alleviating housing cost aspects of income poverty) ● See e.g. DoECLG (2011) Housing Policy Statement (Dublin: DoECLG) ● Evidently it is an empirical question (to be evaluated via, inter alia, the data sources listed) whether this policy aspiration is realised ● The impact of housing poverty alleviation on the alleviation of other poverty dimensions (the extent to which it alleviates either post-housing cost income poverty, or non-housing dimensions of deprivation) is a separate issue

17 PART 3 OFFICIAL SURVEY SOURCES OF HOUSING / POVERTY DATA

18 PART 3 official surveys on housing / poverty 1.Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2.Household Budget Survey 3.Census of Population

19 PART 3 official surveys on housing / poverty 1.Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2.Household Budget Survey 3.Census of Population

20 1.Survey on Income and Living Conditions The EU-SILC is the data collection instrument providing 'official' evidence about the income and deprivation dimensions of poverty in Ireland. Research body? Central Statistics Office Data selection? a large sample of households Data collection? primarily based on questionnaires administered on a rolling basis How often? annually from 2003 Online? Availability to researchers? anonymised microdata available to bona fide researchers via the UCD Irish Social Science Data Archive

21 SILC tenure data SILC data is collected in relation to a tenure variable, with three categories: ● Owner-occupied ● Rented at the market rate ● Rented at below the market rate or rent free And these are correlated throughout the SILC report with other variables....

22 SILC tenure data ● Note however that these 3 categories don't correspond directly with the standard classification by housing analysts above...

23 Note on SILC tenure categories The categories of the tenure variable at data collection stage, for subsequent collapse into the three-fold typology, are as follows: 1. Owned Outright 2. Owned with Mortgage (including joint owner rental with Local Authority) 3. Owned with tenant purchase system 4. Owned with affordable housing 5. Rented from Local Authority 6. Rented from landlord with furnishings 7. Rented from landlord without furnishings - From CSO 2010, SILC questionnaire manual, p. 19

24 SILC questions on housing poverty #1 ● Comprise 2 of the items on the official deprivation index

25 ‘lacking two or more items from the following 11- item index’ : '6. Had to go without heating during the last year through lack of money 7. Keep the home adequately warm'

26 Generating (tenure by deprivation) data such as: ● "Individuals living in households renting at 'below the market rate or rent free' reported the highest levels of deprivation in 2009, with only 29.1% experiencing no deprivation at all." – CSO 2012

27 SILC - (tenure by at-risk-of poverty) data example: persons living in owner-occupied accommodation had a significantly lower at risk of poverty rate ● "The at risk of poverty rate for persons living in owner- occupied accommodation was 10.1% in 2009 ● while the rate for persons living in accommodation rented at the market rate was 16.5% and for ● persons living in accommodation rented at below the market rate or rent free was 31.7%." – CSO 2012

28 SILC - (tenure by consistent poverty) data example ● "the highest consistent poverty rate reported was for those renting at below market rate in at17.9%, ● a consistent poverty rate of 8.3% for persons in accommodation rented at the market rate ● 2.5% for persons living in owner-occupied housing" – CSO 2012

29 SILC questions re housing costs ( first introduced in 2009): ● on household indebtedness, there is a dichotomous yes/no question on rent and mortgage arrears ● (by income quintile) ● 'Housing cost burden' offers three response categories: heavy / somewhat / none ● (by income quintile)

30 SILC questions re housing & neighbourhood quality ● Damp walls ● Dark rooms ● Absence of hot running water ● Noise a problem in neighbourhood ● Crime a problem in neighbourhood

31 2. Household Budget Survey

32 2. HOUSEHOLD BUDGET SURVEY Research body? Central Statistics Office Data selection? sample of 8,000 households in last round Data collection? Household questionnaires How often? every 5 years (since 1951) - last conducted in Online? etsurvey/A vailability to researchers? anonymised microdata available to bona fide researchers via the UCD Irish Social Science Data Archive etsurvey/

33 2. HOUSEHOLD BUDGET SURVEY Research body? Central Statistics Office Data selection? sample of 8,000 households in last round Data collection? Household questionnaires How often? every 5 years (since 1951) - last conducted in Online? etsurvey/A vailability to researchers? anonymised microdata available to bona fide researchers via the UCD Irish Social Science Data Archive etsurvey/

34 Household Budget Survey Collects data on ● household expenditures (including housing) ● income and labour market status ● household facilities and appliances ● housing tenure

35 3. Census of Population ● Research body? Central Statistics Office ● Data selection? Universal coverage (not a sample) ● Permits detailed analysis down to Electoral Division level (and anonymised files are available online) ● How often? every 5 years with some exceptions (from 1926) ● Online? ● Availability to researchers? Interactive tables, Small Area Population Stats (SAPS) for selected variables and geographic areas, for more recent censuses. Anonymised microdata available to bona fide researchers – contact CSO for details.

36 ● Data on tenure were first collected in the post- WWII census (1946), and then in the first census of every decade ● From the 2006 census, tenure questions are also asked in mid-decade censuses

37 Other Census housing data ● Indicators of housing quality: ● type of heating ● no. of rooms ● indoor toilet ● age of house

38 Other Census housing data ● Data on rental housing costs [but not on mortgage payments]

39 PART 4 Administrative data on housing / poverty

40 4. Social Housing Needs Assessment 5. Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services (rent and mortgage interest supplements) 6. Department of Environment, Community and Local Government stats online 7. Central Bank stats on mortgage arrears ● (The local authority Ihouse database)

41 4. social housing needs assessment Research body? Based on local authority admin data Data selection? A census of all relevant cases of need How often? Every 3 years (based on data returned by Local Authorities under the 1988 Housing Act, section 9) This data is available by housing authority - though with some delays between data collection and dissemination Online? tions/HousingStatistics/ tions/HousingStatistics/ Availability to researchers? No, dataset not supplied.

42 Breakdown of households assessed as being in need of social housing by: ● Tenure ● Employment status ● Age; ● Household type; ● Duration ; ● Income analysis of households; ● Number of non- EU National households

43 5. DoSP (2011) Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services 2010 ● Research body? Admin data from DoSP ● Data selection? A census of all relevant files ● Data collection? Admin data ● How often? Annually (online from 1998) ● Online? ● ages/StatInfoReportsIndex.aspx ● Availability to researchers? No, dataset unavailable

44 Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services Trends in rent and mortgage interest supplement scheme including: ● Overall expenditures ● No. of recipients ● Age ● Gender ● Primary income source ● Geographical area (county) ● Types of household ● Duration of claim

45 6. DoE stats online Research body? DoE Appears to have replaced the Housing Stats Bulletin (until 2008, quarterly and annually) Data selection? A census of all relevant cases Data collection? Admin data How often? Updated every few months Online? ations/HousingStatistics/ Availability to researchers? No, original dataset not supplied

46 Presents data on activities by social housing bodies Local authority new build Voluntary / housing association new build Shared ownership Low cost housing sites Improvement works in lieu of re-housing Affordable housing Local authority loans for home purchase and improvement Overall social housing expenditures

47 7. Central Bank data on overmortgaged households ● Research body? Irish Central Bank ● Data selection and collection? compiles stats on all mortgage arrears, supplied by mortgage lending institutions,though these are not very (more detailed data incl. on Right to Buy mortgages, later in 2012) ● How often? quarterly from June 2011 ● Online? ges/releases.aspx ● Availability to researchers? No, original dataset unavailable

48 Mortgage data is supplied on ● Total residential mortgage loans outstanding ● Arrears by duration ● Repossessions ● Restructured mortgages

49 PART 5 OFFICIAL SURVEY AND ADMIN SOURCES OF HOMELESSNESS DATA

50 Data sources on homelessness ● “absence of reliable data on the homeless population represents one of the most significant data gaps in our knowledge and understanding of poverty in Ireland” - Corrigan, C., Fitzgerald, E., Bates, J., and Matthews, A. (2002) Data Sources on Poverty. Dublin: Combat Poverty Agency ● "The major technical obstacle to thestudy of the homeless lies in the fact that conventional censuses and surveys are premised on the assumption that almost all persons can be reached and queried in their dwellings, a premise that is untenable by definition when dealing with the homeless. " Rossi, (1987) 'No good social research goes unpunished, Society, Nov – Dec, pp. 77-8

51 Quantifying homelessness 8. the Counted In surveys in Dublin 9. the PASS system (= administrative data) 10. new question asked in the 2011 Census 11. the 3-yearly counts under the 1988 Housing Act, section 9

52 8. Counted In (various years) Survey of those accessing homeless services in the Dublin area: Research body? Dublin Region Homeless Executive, formerly the Homeless Agency, formerly the Homeless Initiative) How often? 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008 (superseded by the PASS system and by the new Census 2011 question on homelessness) Online? Figures.aspxwww.homelessagency.ie/Facts/Homeless- Figures.aspx Availability to researchers? No, original dataset unavailable

53 9. Pathway Accommodation and Support System (PASS) Research body? Managed by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive Data selection and collection? an online system providing ‘real-time’ information in terms of homeless presentation and bed occupancy across the Dublin region. ● Will allow gathering of data re presentation to homeless services and use of hostel accommodation. Availability to researchers? Not currently

54 10. Census 2011 ● a new category in relation to question on living arrangements in the 2011 Census for those in hostel and other accommodation ● (results in Aug 2012) ● required under EU law: Regulation (EU) No 519/2010 – see Eurostat (2010) EU legislation on the 2011 Population and Housing Censuses Explanatory Notes

55 l ● „a first ever Census figure for the homeless population in Ireland, including rough sleeping (Dublin only) for the year 2011 (Census night was April 11th 2011) ● illustrate the spatial distribution of the Irish homeless population across urban and rural spatial units at regional scales and at other scales where possible ● provide data on the following aspects of the Irish homeless population: age; marital status; family composition; nationality and ethnicity; disability, general health and wellbeing; level of education; economic status and religious beliefs“ ● May June Issue Pathway 2012 | 29 June, 2012 – 7v1p3kguuiujn?a=1&p= &t=

56 11. Statutory 3-yearly enumeration ● Data collection agencies? local authorities (and Dublin Homeless Agency / Dublin Region Homeless Executive in Dublin area) ● The 3 year counts are intended to be a complete enumeration of the hss population, allowing a more or less detailed picture at local level. ● They have now been amalgamated with the 3-yearly assessments of social housing need (see above) ● Counted In was the more detailed survey in the Dublin area that met this statutory requirement (see above)

57 12. rough sleeper count in Dublin area ● Data collection agency? Dublin Region Homeless Executive ● Data selection? Aims at a census of relevant population ● How often? every six months (April and Nov) from Nov 2007 ● Online? Headline stats at ● Availability to researchers? No, original dataset not available

58 How many homeless? Irish Homelessness (households) 20022, , ,394 = a reduction of 593 on 2005 figure (-29.9%) = a reduction of 1074 on 2002 figure (-41.9%) Source: Annual Housing Statistics Bulletin 2008 Appendix II

59 How many homeless? 20112,348 = an increase of 68% on the 2008 figure Source: Assessment of Social Housing Need 2011

60 How many rough sleeping in Dublin area? ● 87 persons on the night of 9 th Nov 2011 ● An increase of 17 from Nov 2010

61 EXCURSUS # 2 the contexts of homelessness measures

62 Homelessness is the most acute form of housing poverty. Measuring homelessness raises issues of -definition -politics -methods

63 MEASURING HOMELESSNESS: DEFINITIONS Housing Act 1988, Section 2 open to interpretation: -narrowly (those sleeping rough, in hostels and county homes etc.) -more broadly (to include those living in accommodation that they cannot be ‘reasonably expected’ to continue to live in due to poor quality, overcrowding, domestic disputes, threat of eviction.)

64 Homeless definitions In practice, the definition was interpreted narrowly The earlier Assessments of Homelessness provided limited data Such poor data makes analysis of trends difficult!

65 Why the contested estimates of hsss? THE POLITICS OF MEASUREMENT Advocacy groups generally estimate larger homeless populations than do statutory bodies: a felt need to show very large numbers of homeless people See Rossi (1989) Wright et al. (1998) Beside the Golden Door O'Sullivan, and O'Connor, in Downey (ed.) Perspectives on Irish Homelessness

66 Statutory bodies may downplay the extent of the problem -They may feel that improving facilities or supplying housing (in response to large ‘counts’) may ‘worsen’ the social problem e.g. -attract demand from adjoining areas (where their traditional role is to cater to ‘locals’) -‘encourage’ e.g. young people who might otherwise have resolved family differences to leave home. -Budgetary / capacity constraints

67 MEASURING HOMELESSNESS: METHODS a. Stock or flow measures? b. Difficulties in counting different categories of homeless c. Number of bodies involved in data collection raises data quality issues

68 Stock or flow measures? A stock measure counts the number of homeless at a particular point in time a flow measure counts the total number of persons who experience homelessness over a longer period (usually a year).

69 Difficulties in counting different categories of homeless the easiest category of the visible hss to count are those in shelters and in B&Bs; more difficult to count rough sleepers. - easier to count those in contact with hss services - see the ETHOS typology of homelessness at

70 Variety of bodies involved in data collection Town councils, borough councils, city councils and county councils Raises issues of consistency of data collection methods

71 ● The politically contested nature of hsss stats: ● Note how the Dub stats are particularly sensitive, given the existence of an action plan with targets, and with an agency 'responsible' for these outcomes.

72 –what is role of academic research? Rossi (1989) 'No good social research goes unpunished'


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