“We are heading towards generation after generation experiencing preventable housing issues that are already worsening today.”

ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, has today put forward nine recommendations in their submission for the new housing strategy being devised by the Department of Housing. By outlining their essential age inclusive additions, ALONE want to prevent the catastrophic effects the current housing situation on the existing older cohort and the ageing population that follows. 

ALONEurges the Minister for Housing and other members of government to listen and take direction from the organisation’s recommendations that outline solutions and plans to address Ireland’s housing crisis in the midst of a growing ageing population.

ALONE is calling for the following to be incorporated into the Housing for All strategy;

1.      That housing for all to be a long term strategy to build the types of housing needed in every county based on demographics all age groups and locations. The aim should be to meet the demand now doing that in a way that future proofs use for our needs in 10-20 years.

2.      ALONE is calling for a funding mechanism to ensure we have investment in Housing with onsite Supports. Building on the model championed in Rebuilding Ireland.

3.      With the numbers of over 85s renting increasing 5 fold in the last 25 years, provide a path towards long-term lease agreements to ensure security of tenure. We believe there are workarounds to perceived constitutional issues.

4.      We need to incentivise right sizing. 59,462 homes are needed for older people who choose right-sizing which is key to ensuring housing is accessible to all and supports ageing in place.

5.      45,905 housing units are needed through social housing. This is a housing target aligned to the changing demographics over the next 10 years, equating to 4,590 units per year.

6.      Implementation of the joint policy statement ‘Housing Options for our Ageing Population’ will be central to ensuring that older people are supported to age at home regardless of ownership. Infrastructure of support coordination is a priority and requires investment and development to fully support older people.

7.      Housing Adaptation Grant requires an investment of €84.5 million per year over the next 10 years to meet demand.

8.      Targeted interventions to prevent homelessness amongst older people.

9.      All housing developments must incorporate universal design principles to allow people to age in place or to choose to right-size in communities they have lived in all their lives.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE has said, “The last year has brought world-wide attention to many existing and ever-increasing issues for older people. ALONE has continually called on Government to commit to delivering on requests for Housing for All options. We are heading towards generation after generation experiencing intensive and preventable housing issues that are already worsening today.

“These actions will make the best use of current stock, remove older people from insecure positions they are in, future-proof our housing stock, support younger people to get a home, help reduce the pressure in the rented sector, be more cost effective when building the right units in the right place and maximised cost versus benefit.

“Each of our nine asks will enable current older people and future generations, with medium to high support needs, to live in the community, with the additional support they need to live independently, or semi-independently. These asks will future-proof the present, imminent and next couple of decades of older people.”


·        Ireland’s population of people over 60 is expected to grow form 1,004,670 in 2021 to 1,312,783 by 2031[1].

·        Nearly 60% of people aged 50 and over report experiencing housing problem, including leaks, rot, damp or mould and structural problems[2].

·        15% of those aged 65 and over would ‘right-size’[3]. Approximately 91,000 to 121,000 older households would move if they could sell their home and purchase a purpose-built home in the same area for a lower price[4].

·        There are 61,880 households on the waiting list for social housing, with the number of people aged 60-69 increasing by 43% and those aged 70 and over increasing by almost 20%[5]. – the only age groups which are raising

·        From 1991 – 2016, there has been a 12% increase in the number of over 80s renting, and a 49% increase in over 85s renting[6].

·        2.4% of those aged 65 and over are renting from a private landlord, compared to nearly 10% of 50 – 54 year olds[7]. The number of people aged 55 – 64 has also increased in recent years, increasing from 37,263 in 2011 to 44,440 in 2016, an increase of nearly 20%[8].

·       In 2031, just ten years from now, 18.8% of the population will be over 65+ compared to 13% in 2016. [9] ALONE have highlighted this as being particularly concerning when we look at the proportion of people aged 35-44, and 45-54, renting with increases of up to five times between 1991 and 2016.[10] The organisation stresses that our middle aged renters are the older people of tomorrow and the current system will not and presently does not shield the over 65’s in our Country. People in these age groups will struggle to buy and in twenty years’ time we could see a much higher proportion of over 55s living in the private rented sector.

  • Since Rebuilding Ireland was launched, the number of people over 65 accessing emergency accommodation has remained relatively static, increasing by 1.7% from 2017 to 2020, however, since 2014, it has increased by 60%[11].

ALONE is a national organisation that strives to enable older people to age at home, safely and securely, for as long as they wish. We work with all older people, including those who are lonely, isolated, frail or ill, homeless, living in poverty, or are facing other difficulties. We provide an integrated system of Support Coordination, Practical Supports, Befriending, a variety of Phone Services, Social Prescribing, Housing with Support, and assistive technology. We use support plans, provide a point of contact for access to health, social care, housing, transport and other arising needs using technology and other services and activities to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

We have an engaged fleet of nearly 3,000 volunteers who are matched to older people through our Support and Telephone Befriending initiative. Our volunteers offer their time by linking in with their older person through visits, conducting practical supports and being a companion.

[1] ALONE, 2018. Housing Choices For Older People In Ireland – Time For Action. [online] p.5. Available at: <https://alone.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Housing-Choices-for-Older-People-in-Ireland-Time-for-Action-1.pdf> [Accessed 10 August 2020]. 

[2] The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, 2016. Housing conditions of Ireland’s older population: Implications for physical and mental health. [online] Dublin: The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, p.12. Available at: <https://tilda.tcd.ie/publications/reports/pdf/Report_HousingConditions.pdf> [Accessed 28 May 2021].

[3] ALONE, 2018. Housing Choices For Older People In Ireland. [online] ALONE, p.7. Available at: <https://alone.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Housing-Choices-for-Older-People-in-Ireland-Time-for-Action-1.pdf> [Accessed 21 July 2020].

[4] Irish Government Economic & Evaluation Service, 2021. Attitudinal survey of mature homeowners. [online] Irish Government Economic & Evaluation Service. Available at: <https://igees.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/20201020-IGEES-Mature-Home-Owners.pdf> [Accessed 20 May 2021].

[5] https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/970ea-summary-of-social-housing-assessments-2020-key-findings/

[6] Central Statistics Office, n.d. Census of Population 2016 – Profile 1 Housing in Ireland. [online] Central Statistics Office. Available at: <https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-cp1hii/cp1hii/tr/> [Accessed 10 May 2021].

[7] ALONE, 2018. Housing Choices for Older People in Ireland. [online] ALONE, p.8. Available at: <https://alone.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Housing-Choices-for-Older-People-in-Ireland-Time-for-Action-1.pdf> [Accessed 29 April 2021].

[8] Central Statistics Office, 2020. Private Households in Permanent Housing Units 2011 to 2016. Central Statistics Office.

[9] https://assets.gov.ie/9398/ca553fa753b64f14b20e4a8dcf9a46ab.pdf

[10] Accessed through Social Justice Ireland; Data extracted from NESC (2014) Home Ownership and Rental: What Road is Ireland On?; Malone (2019) Housing in Ireland: changing trends in headship rates and tenure by age group

[11] Analysis of Department of Housing reports on numbers accessing emergency accommodation from 2014 – 2017 at the end of year.

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