"Crisis within a crisis" as report highlights discrimination in Irish housing system

It comes as the Government

"Crisis within a crisis" as report highlights discrimination in Irish housing system

Picture by: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/PA Images

People with disabilities, lone mothers, young people and members of the Traveller community face the highest levels of discrimination when it comes to housing in Ireland.

A new report by the Irish Human Rights Commission and the ESRI has found that lone parents are particularly disadvantaged when trying to find a home.

It also found that 18 to 34-year-old's are six times more likely to be discriminated against, compared to those over the age of 65.

In a statement, the chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Emily Logan said the report highlights a “crisis within a crisis” as certain groups face inequality and discrimination on top of the general difficulties associated with the current housing crisis.

“Addressing housing supply, and in particular the supply of social housing, is essential,” she said.

“However, a one-size-fits-all approach will not meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population. 

“If policy makers are to find a sustainable solution to the current housing crisis, they need to look at the experience of single parents, people with a disability, members of minority ethnic groups, and people in receipt of housing support payments, to name but a few. 

“Both the private and public sectors need to step up to their obligations under equality and human rights law if we are to break the cycle of inequality and discrimination in housing.”

File photo of Emily Logan, the Chief Commissioner Irish Human Rights And Equality Commission, 04-06-2015. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

The ‘Discrimination and Inequality in Housing in Ireland’ study examines people’s direct experiences when it comes to searching for a house, living conditions and the prevalence of homelessness.

It finds that young people are more likely to experience discrimination than their elders – even after factors like education and employment are taken into account.

People with disabilities were found to be more than twice as likely to face discrimination and over 1.6 times more likely to live in poor conditions. More than one-in-four homeless people has a disability.

Lone parents also experience high levels of discrimination when searching for a home and are often living in poorer conditions. 60% of homeless families are headed up by a single parent.

Travellers are almost 10 times more likely to experience discrimination when it comes to finding a home. The Traveller community makes up 9% of the homeless population, despite making up less than 1% of Ireland’s population.

The report also notes that children have borne the brunt of Ireland’s ongoing homelessness crisis – with minors making up nearly a third of the homeless population.

The report was released as the Government came under further pressure to explain how it over-estimated the number of new homes being built.

The latest statistics from the CSO show that around 53,000 new homes were completed between 2011 and 2017.

That is some 30,000 less than the Department of Housing had previously claimed.