Figures released from the Central Statistics Office today show that households living in rented accommodation are much more likely to experience poverty than people who own their own homes. According to the EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions, four out of ten (41.6%) households who are renting homes are at risk of poverty, more than double the figure (18.2%) for home owners at risk; while over a quarter (26%) of renters are living in consistent poverty [see Notes to Editor], compared with just 5% of home owners.
Patrick Burke, Director of Threshold, said:
“We welcome the publication of today’s survey by the CSO. The figures released are embarrassing for the Government in the context of an economy which continues to boom. This survey confirms the reality which Threshold deals with on a daily basis. Two-thirds [66%] of Threshold’s clients have household incomes of less than €15,000 per year and many experience real problems paying their rent.
Most of the 48,000 households on local authority waiting lists are living in the private rented sector. There is simply not enough social housing stock to meet demand. If the government is serious about eradicating poverty, it must get more serious about addressing housing need. This year, the Government must deliver a minimum of 10,000 social housing units to make any significant impact on housing poverty.”
‘At risk of poverty’ rate: this is the share of people with an income below 60% of the national median income.
‘Consistent poverty’: people who are risk of poverty and who may be excluded and marginalised from participating in activities which are considered the norm for people in society (for example, experience debt arising from ordinary living expenses or unable to afford a warm waterproof coat)
A recent Combat Poverty Agency Report, Housing Poverty and Wealth in Ireland (2004), stated that one in five households (20,000-25,000 households) in the private rented sector experienced affordability problems, spending over one third (35% or more) of the household income on rent each week. This places an ongoing financial strain on the household.