Housing Options for Our Ageing Population-Joint Policy Statement
On 27 February 2019, a joint policy statement entitled Housing Options for our Ageing Population was launched by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Department of Health. The joint policy statement was prepared against the backdrop of research showing that Ireland’s population is ageing and that by 2051 it is estimated that there will be approximately 1.6 million people over 65 years old living in Ireland.
‘Housing Options for Our Ageing Population’ provides a framework by which the Government not only facilitates and promotes a variety of housing options for older people, including housing with support, it also promotes the putting in place of measures to ensure that sustainable housing (with supports where required) is provided in the right locations in order to enable older people to age in their community if that is their wish.
The policy document sets out 40 Priority Actions incorporating six fundamental principles derived from extensive research on the needs of older people on which the strategic planning in the document is based. These are:
- Putting in place measures to ensure that sustainable housing is provided in the right location to enable people to age in the community
- Framing policy and implementation to ensure that they support the renewal and regeneration of urban centres
- Designing housing and the environment in accordance with the principles of sustainable lifetime housing
- Promoting the use of assistive technology to support people to live independently
- Ensuring there is adequate consideration to the need for social connectedness in devising policy
- Working collaboratively with all stakeholders to achieve the policy objectives
An Implementation Group to oversee the Actions was established in September 2019 and includes membership from the two Departments, the Health Service Executive, Local Authorities and relevant stakeholders. In view of the large number of Actions which involve a significant number of agencies four subgroups were established to examine specific Actions from the policy statement under specific work streams.
The Implementation Group has published two reports which are available here. They detail the work being carried out by the Implementation Group and the Sub-Groups to the end of June 2020. The Groups are continuing their work and a third report will be published in 2021.
Housing For All (2021)
Over the next five years the Government is committed to:
- Put affordability at the heart of the housing system;
- Prioritise the increased supply of public, social and affordable homes;
- Progress a State-backed affordable home purchase scheme to promote home ownership;
- Increase the social housing stock by more than 50,000, with an emphasis on new builds;
- Tackle homelessness;
- Ensure local authorities are central to delivering housing;
- Work with the private sector to ensure that there is an appropriate mix and type of housing provided nationally; and
- Improve the supply and affordability of rental accommodation and the security of tenure for renters.
To deliver on these commitments, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has begun the process of drafting a new vision to replace Rebuilding Ireland for likely publication mid-year. Like the chapter in the Programme for Government, it will be called ‘Housing for All’.
For Housing for All to make a difference on the scale that is required, it is being developed with a whole of Government approach and the Department is actively working with the relevant key Departments to deliver this policy statement and action plan later this year.
Rebuilding Ireland-Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness which was published in July 2016 is a five-year Government plan.
Rebuilding Ireland and Older People
Rebuilding Ireland re-iterates Government policy to support older people to live with dignity and independence in homes and communities of their choosing for as long as possible. It also recognises that the ageing of the Irish population presents challenges for public policy in housing, health and urban and rural planning and commits to expanding the range of housing options for older people, including housing with supports.
Actions 2.16 to Actions 2.19 outline how this will be achieved through best practice models, supporting innovation in design and new technologies and providing grant funding for the adaptation of existing homes. The Housing Options for our Ageing Population Joint Policy Statement was developed to put in place the framework to achieve the objectives of the Actions in Rebuilding Ireland.
For more information on Rebuilding Ireland visit www.rebuildingireland.ie
Programme for Government
The Programme for Government (2020) provides a commitment to an Age Friendly Ireland, that recognises the relationship between housing and health. It recognises that housing, where possible, should improve choice and enable older people to remain in their communities, close to their families and support network, while accessing health and social care. It commits to an increase in housing choice for older people to allow them to “Age in Place” where possible.
Sláintecare is a new vision for the health service in Ireland. The Sláintecare programme aims to provide a singe-tier health and social care system that is available to all based on need not on ability to pay. It focuses on providing health and social care in the right place at the right time, and places an emphasis on primary and community services.
The Healthy Age Friendly Homes Programme is an initiative, funded by Sláintecare, that aims to enable older people to continue living in their homes or in a home more suited to their needs, live with a sense of independence and autonomy, be and feel part of their community, and support the avoidance of early or premature admission to long term residential care. You can find out more information about this programme by visiting the Healthy Age Friendly Homes webpage.
You can find out more about Sláintecare by viewing the resources below: