In 2020, single persons constituted 52% of the housing waiting list. According to our latest We Are Gen Rent survey, 37% of those surveyed were single adults. Of this cohort, 37% felt insecure in their tenure.
In our current housing crisis, single adults are particularly dependent on private rental housing, however supports such as HAP and rent supplement are not sufficiently generous to secure accommodation for this cohort, often forcing them to accept less than adequate housing.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the often-precarious housing situations of single people, for example, dependence on shared accommodation and the health risks attached. Therefore, a national strategy for single people is necessary to ensure that the need for a shared room is eliminated.
Additionally, social housing developments are mainly main 2-, 3-, 4-bed accommodation. There is a serious miss-match between the proportion of single person households on the social housing list and properties made available. Void units, due to their standard size, are rarely allocated to single persons in large urban authority traditional social housing developments. This could be overcome however, by subdividing
Single adults, while the majority of those experiencing homelessness, are forgotten when preventative measures and policies are being discussed by Government.
Threshold is calling on Government to develop a Housing Strategy for Single People. We would like to see better provision for single people in new build private and social properties. Additionally, Threshold piloted our Single Persons Project. In an effort to address the fact that single people are disproportionally represented on the homeless list, we established a project in Dublin specifically to tackle the gap in supports. Single people and couples without dependent children who are at risk of losing their home can be referred to the service. A Threshold advisor will work closely with them avoid entering homelessness.
Between December 2019 and June 2020, 325 clients were supported by the Single Persons Project and with the exception of four cases, homelessness was prevented for all cases closed so far. Investment in, and more importantly, promotion of this type of dedicated service, on a national basis, is vital to ensure those at risk of homelessness receive the assistance they require in a timely manner.
Threshold is calling for Government to invest more in supports dedicated to single people and make these supports available nationally.