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Lone parents and their children account for more than half of all homeless families

Less than 25% of lone parents reported home-ownership, compared with 70% of the total population.

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LONE PARENTS AND their children account for 53% of all homeless families, new research has shown.

The report, published today by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), found lone parents and their children are much more likely to experience poor housing than other household types.

The report also highlights the disadvantages experienced by young people, migrants, people with disabilities and Travellers in the Irish housing system.

Researchers looked at six dimensions of housing adequacy – accessibility, affordability, security of tenure, cultural adequacy, quality, and location. 

They found that less than 25% of lone parents reported home-ownership, compared with 70% of the total population.

Lone parents had higher rates of affordability issues (19%) when compared to the general population (5%) and were particularly vulnerable to housing quality problems such as damp and lack of central heating (32% compared to 22%).

Ethnic minority groups had a significantly higher risk of over-crowding, the research found. Over 35% of Asian/Asian Irish people, 39% of Travellers and over 40% of Black/Black Irish people live in over-crowded accommodation, compared to 6% of the total population.

Almost half of all migrants in Ireland live in the private rental sector, compared to 9% of those born in Ireland. Migrants, specifically those from Eastern Europe (28%) and non-EU countries (27%), are more likely to live in over-crowded conditions.

The research found that almost one third of persons living with a disability experience housing quality issues, compared to 21% of those without a disability. 

Researchers said there remains a real risk that levels of homelessness will worsen after the pandemic restrictions are lifted and they raised concern about rents increasing faster than mean earnings in Dublin and elsewhere. 

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In 2020, mean monthly rent in Ireland was estimated to be 31% of mean monthly earnings.

“Access to adequate housing is a fundamental human right protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and elsewhere but this report shows profound barriers to adequate housing among lone parents, people across generations, Travellers and migrants,” Sinéan Gibney, chief commissioner at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission said today.

“Adequate housing allows people to not only survive but thrive and achieve their full potential, whilst leading to a more just, inclusive and sustainable society.”

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