An internationally recognised right
The right for people to live included in the community like everyone else is central to achieving Inclusion Ireland’s goal of an inclusive society. As mentioned by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Article 19 and general comment n5, this right is not only about houses for people to live in.
It is also about choosing where and who you want to live with, accessing specialised and general services, getting the right support, and participating like everyone else in the community. This right reflects the longstanding fight to move people out of congregated settings so they can live of life of their choosing.
The situation in Ireland
In Ireland, nearly 4,000 people are still living in congregated settings (2,419 according to HIQA Annual report 2021) or unsuitably placed in nursing homes (1,300 according to the Wasted Lives Report) while thousands of others are living with families, including older family carers, and have been waiting for many years to move into a home of their own.
The latest figures from the National Federation of Voluntary Service Providers show that 1,500 people with intellectual disabilities are living with family carers aged 70 or older.
A number of barriers were highlighted by Inclusion Ireland and many other organisations during the consultation for the new National Housing Disability Strategy 2022-2027:
- The lack of housing options;
- The complexity of navigating between the housing and health system to get a housing and support package;
- The lack of accessible information about the process;
In addition to these barriers, the National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 2022-2027 – Implementation Plan initially expected for June 2022 was released in June 2023, a year late, despite the urgency and despair faced by many disabled people waiting for housing.
According to the plan, only 1826 people with intellectual disabilities were allocated social housing in the whole country since 2016; an average of 260 people per year. If we only take into consideration people living in inappropriate places and living with their older parents (5500 individuals), it will take close to 20 years to resolve their right to a home. This does not take into account the many other people living with younger family carers and the increase in demands due to the higher needs of the population.
The Disability Capacity Review, released in 2021 highlighted the investments needed to address the current unmet needs and the demographic changes:
- The annual extra cost of addressing both demographic change and unmet needs would range from an extra €320m to €550m a year by 2032
- The cost to replace the congregated places and the building of more adequate residential places (also called capital cost) would be between 500 to 800 million in total by 2032.
- An additional 45 million should be spent every year on home care, home support, and personal assistance services
However, it is important to note that the report does not address the quality of services provided nor how it should evolve but only focuses on the level of services needed to address the current unmet needs and future demographic changes.
We need to stop funding exclusion and look towards funding truly inclusive, person-led models of support.
Read more about Inclusion Ireland’s submission for the Action Plan for Disability Services 2022-2025 (link to be added once the submission is on the website)
Read more about your housing rights in our resource section here.
Inclusion Ireland Members Experience
These are the most recent figures from our survey for Budget 2024 for which we got more than 600 responses:
- 72% of people with an intellectual disability said that they were living with their family and 40% of these people wanted to move out.
- 51% of respondents who support a person with an intellectual disability said that person was living with a family member, with 15% of respondents living with a parent over the age of 70.
- Only about a third of people who said they wanted to move house were actually on a housing waiting list.
Of those who were on a housing waiting list.
- Nearly half of those on the housing list had been on it for more than 5 years which includes nearly 20% over 10 years.
You can read our Budget Submission 2024 here: