Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (107)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

107. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if there is a system of quotas or statutory imposed ratios in the provision of housing for persons with disabilities; the average length of time persons with disabilities are spending on housing waiting lists compared to persons on housing waiting lists who do not have disabilities. [38202/20]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The allocation of social housing support to qualified households is a matter for the local authority concerned, in accordance with its allocation scheme made in accordance with Section 22 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and associated Social Housing Allocation Regulations 2011, as amended. This legislation requires all local authorities, as a reserved function, to make an allocation scheme which specifies, among other things, the manner of, and the order of priority for, the allocation of dwellings to households on the housing and transfer lists.

Local authorities assess an application for housing supports from people with disabilities in the same manner as other applications but take account of the specific needs outlined by that person in their application for supports. If specific adaptations are required to accommodate an applicant for social housing supports the applicant submits a report from an Occupational Therapist. There is no system of quotas or statutory based ratios for the allocation of housing to people with disabilities.

The National Housing Strategy for people with a Disability (NHSPWD) 2011-2016 and associated National Implementation Framework were jointly published by my Department and the Department of Health. They set out the Government’s broad framework for the delivery of housing for people with disabilities and were developed as part of a coherent framework in conjunction with the Government’s mental health policy and congregated settings report. Building on the Programme for a Partnership Government commitment to meet the housing needs of people with disabilities, the NHSPWD has been extended to 2020 to continue to deliver on its aims.

One of the key measures achieved in 2016 under the NHSPWD was the establishment of Housing and Disability Steering Groups (HDSGs) in all housing authorities, to achieve a coordinated and integrated approach to meeting the housing needs of people with a disability at local level. These are chaired by Directors of Housing in each authority and include HSE and disability representative organisations. Each HDSG has prepared a local Strategic Plan for its own City/County area, to develop specific local strategies to meet identified and emerging need over the next five years. These Plans, along with the annual Summary of Social Housing Assessments, will allow local authorities to plan more strategically for the housing needs of people with a disability and will support the delivery of accommodation using all appropriate housing supply mechanisms.

This is a more targeted and responsive way to meet any actual housing adaptation need identified rather than, for example, designating a specific number of new social housing builds for people with a disability that may need further or different adaptations based on the individual need of the person allocated the home.

My Department does not collate the information on the waiting list requested by the Deputy. However, details on the number of households qualified for social housing support in each local authority area is provided in the annual statutory Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA). The most recent summary, from June 2019 shows that 68,693 households were qualified for, and in need of, social housing support. Of this number, 4,126 households or 6% were those who had a specific need for housing based on disability. According to figures collated by the Housing Agency, in 2019 there were 2,389 allocations of social housing to households with disability as a primary basis of need. This represents 12% of total allocations for 2019. This demonstrates that local authorities are making progress in meeting the needs of persons with disabilities on the social housing waiting list.