The ramifications of being evicted can have a colossal impact on families. Evictions can be linked to a multitude of health concerns including increased stress, disruptions to health care and associated mental health issues such as depression. The physical, psychological and financial consequences of being evicted are said to be more severe for older adults.
Older renters are more likely to be rent-burdened as tenants who are 65 or over are spending 34.9% of their disposable income on housing (CSO, 2021). According to the Survey on Income and Living Conditions 2022, more than two-thirds of renters (69.4%) reported having difficulty making ends meet, with more than 10.5% reporting experiencing great difficulty. To prioritize paying rent, older adults on fixed incomes may be sacrificing other necessities, like health care, food or their utilities.
According to Census 2016, 2.4% of people aged 65 and over, and almost 10% of people aged between 50 and 54 are renting from a private landlord. The number of renters aged 55 – 64 has also increased in recent years, from 37,263 in 2011 to 44,440 in 2016. There were 635 persons aged 55+ and 413 persons aged 60+ that were homeless in 2016. As we await the final breakdown of Census 2022 and the looming end to the moratorium on evictions, these numbers will surely skyrocket.
Threshold have recently made recommendations to Government on how the growing number of people at risk of homelessness might be alleviated. They have also stated that the moratorium had been successful in preventing wide-scale evictions which would have been beyond the capacity of homeless services. For older adults in particular, the reality of an eviction goes beyond affordability and availability alone. It can force older adults out of their communities where they may have lived for decades. They also need to consider accessibility, transportation and proximity to health care, which can further limit their options when finding suitable housing.
The people of Ireland deserve the basic human right to safe and secure housing. The ISCP will continue to fight for the rights of people as they age and their access to appropriate housing.
Additional Articles Cited:
ALONE (2018). Housing Choices for Older People in Ireland. [online] ALONE, p.8. Available at: https://alone.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Housing-Choices-for-Older-People-in-Ireland-Time-for-Action-1.pdf
Central Statistics Office (2020) Private Households in Permanent Housing Units 2011 to 2016. Central Statistics Office.
Central Statistics Office (2016) Census 2016. Available at: https://www.cso.ie/en/census/census2016reports/
Desmond, M. and Kimbro, R.T. (2015). Eviction’s Fallout: Housing, Hardship, and Health. Social Forces, 94(1), pp.295–324. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/sov044.
Vásquez-Vera, H., Palència, L., Magna, I., Mena, C., Neira, J. and Borrell, C. (2017). The threat of home eviction and its effects on health through the equity lens: A systematic review. Social Science & Medicine, 175, pp.199–208. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.01.010.