ICSH AGM Calls for Fair Deal Scheme for Supported Housing Under Project Ireland 2040

Monday, 18th June 2018

A year into his brief, Minister Eoghan Murphy to address Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) housing association members at AGM 2018

The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) is calling for the National Planning Framework (Project Ireland 2040) to deliver a reconfigured Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Fair Deal) to assist older people moving to supported housing and not just nursing homes and recommends that the starting point for this should be within the existing network of supported housing schemes provided by housing associations. So says Dr. Donal McManus, Chief Executive of the ICSH, speaking today (18th June 2018) at the organisation’s AGM in the Ashling Hotel Dublin.

Welcoming Minister Eoghan Murphy to the ICSH 2018 AGM, Dr. McManus says that the spectrum of care options for older people should be widened to include ‘Care in the Community’ models. “Older people want to remain in their community in an environment with care supports that maximises their dignity, autonomy, privacy and independence. Census 2016 identified an almost 20% increase in our older population, so our current overreliance on expensive nursing home care is going to put an enormous strain on the state healthcare budget. We are sleepwalking into a crisis here”, he says.

Currently when people are no longer able to remain at home, their only other option is a nursing home. This gap in policy can be overcome by building dedicated supported housing complexes in the heart of local communities. This will provide older people with the support they need in a friendly, purpose built complex overcoming isolation and loneliness. Older people living in their own homes face challenges not just with their health, but also with keeping up maintenance on their family home. Supported housing provide a better option. The ICSH believes a national framework to develop supported housing schemes in population centres throughout the country should be progressed under the National Planning Framework’s (Project Ireland 2040) objective to develop ‘Age Friendly Communities’.

“Housing associations have been providing accommodation and care support to older people for decades in rural and urban and settings throughout Ireland and have built up a valuable infrastructure of services for older people. In addition, the value-for-money dimension cannot be overstated: supported hosing costs are less than a quarter of nursing home care. Our member organisations currently manage more than 7,000 units for older people. The sector previously provided up to one-third of its new housing stock for older people but in 2017, this fell to less than 20%.  Budget 2019 presents an opportunity for the state to get its ducks in a row and make this value-for-money investment at local authority level using a multi-agency approach”, says Dr. McManus.


Notes for Editors:

  • The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) is the national social housing federation of non-profit voluntary and other national housing associations. The ICSH represents almost 240 members and the housing association sector manages more than 32,000 homes for families on a low income, older people, people with disabilities and households that are homeless.
  • What is Supported Housing? Housing associations offer supported housing to people with special needs in a variety of settings and with differing levels of support/care. Supported housing has evolved in a variety of models based on local demand and preferences. While the model of supported housing can vary, the provision of accommodation with some level of support to older people is at the heart of the service. Accommodation can be grouped, individual self-contained homes, or may be shared housing, with or without shared communal facilities. Support staff may be visiting or based on-site. People can live in supported housing for varying lengths of time, depending on their individual needs and the type of service.
  • The 2017 document by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Nursing Homes Support Scheme Trends and Figures, identifies costs of care per Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS) client at roughly €50,000 euro per year in a private nursing home. This rises to €77,000 in public nursing homes. http://www.budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2018/Documents/7.Nursing%20Homes%20Supp...
  • A national policy objective of Project Ireland 2040, the National Planning Framework is that local planning, housing, transport/accessibility and leisure policies will be developed with a focus on meeting the needs and opportunities of an ageing population along with the inclusion of specific projections, supported by clear proposals in respect of ageing communities as part of the core strategy of city and county development plans. http://npf.ie/wp-content/uploads/Project-Ireland-2040-NPF.pdf 
  • An objective of the 2013, National Positive Ageing Strategy is to facilitate older people to live in well-maintained, affordable, safe and secure homes, which are suitable to their physical and social needs. The strategy identifies the provision of sheltered or supported housing as a key area for action. https://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/National_Positive_Agein...
  • Stronger cross-departmental and interagency links at national and local level are necessary to implement Government policy as outlined in the Positive Ageing Strategy, 2013. Most local authorities have established a Housing and Disability Steering Group as well as Homelessness Fora. However, there is currently no mechanism to ensure the inclusion of housing related support services to support independent living for older persons in local authority planning. The Social Housing Strategy 2015-2020 also does not refer to housing or supports for older persons. These are significant gaps at a national and local level, which need to be addressed. The ICSH recommends that housing and related supports for older persons are addressed at local authority level with a multi-agency approach. An example of this is through the Age Friendly Alliances and the newly established Dublin City Council Working Group exploring Housing with Care options.
  • €15million funding was recently announced for a ‘Housing with Support’ scheme for older people in Inchicore, Dublin. The project is a collaboration between Dublin City Council, Circle Housing Association and ALONE. The project is a result of work carried out by the Dublin City Age Friendly Housing Working Group (HWG). The core aims are to design an integrated housing scheme for older people that allows them to remain in their own homes as long as possible and to develop a prototype with the potential for national rollout.
Monday, 18 June, 2018