Charities flag concerns about planned changes to the Fair Deal scheme

Charities told the Oireachtas Commission that they were concerned about the government’s housing plans for the elderly.

As the recent reforms of the Fair Deal scheme were questioned by charity, the Oireachtas Housing Commission asked officials from the housing and health sector.

The government wants to potentially free thousands of homes for families under changes in the Fair Deal scheme.

Politicians noted not only the complexity of this plan, but also the role of local governments and housing agencies in providing homes for the elderly.

Earlier this year, the government agreed on a plan to change the rules of rental income under the Fair Deal scheme. Currently, residents of nursing homes can maintain 60% of the money raised by renting their own home while in the nursing home.

Charities also warned that rising Irish housing markets and rents could bring disaster to older people.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of Alone, said:

“If you are renting, you have more barriers available and fewer options.

He warned that he would “continue to rely on this current model.” That way, more people will be renting to the elderly.

He also warned that the number of people who may need help from homeless services could “dramatically increase.”

Mary Murphy of AgeAction also warned that the number of people over the age of 80 will exceed 340,000 by 2035, from the current 170,000.

Charities have warned of problems caused by the lack of affordable housing in Ireland.

Murphy said: “In the future, more people will be in their 70s and will be repaying their mortgages.”

She said that 2.4 percent of the elderly are also renting personally.

“Many people don’t know how they can afford to buy a home if they quit their job in their 70s. Public housing residents also pay rent, which is a significant percentage of their weekly income. May occupy.

“Since January 2022, we have received more than 200 calls about the Nursing Home Support Scheme, the so-called Fair Deal Scheme.

“The recent announcement that people are allowed to maintain 60 percent of rental income under this scheme improves 20 percent under the old rules, but why not 100 percent? ..

“In the current scheme, few people rent a house. There is no incentive. HSE does not earn income from this and if people maintain 100% of their rental income, they will not lose their income. ..

“It will maximize the incentive to free homes that may remain vacant for years in a nursing home.”

Fiona Larswell of the Ministry of Health previously said it was important to “do not fool” the elderly in the plan.

“Elderly people do nothing in this regard unless you make it easier for them,” she said.

“In this regard, it is very important not to deceive people in nature. We do not want people to think that we are removing their home from them.”

Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman, Eoin Broin, praised some of the country’s housing development for the elderly and said he didn’t expect the plan to release as many homes as the government wanted. ..

He added: This does not mean that older people living in large homes are forced to move. “

These concerns were repeated by charities, who also questioned some of the logic behind this plan.

Asked by Sinn Féin party TD Thomas Gould, Murphy said he was concerned that there might be “excessive pressure” on older people to bring their homes to market.

“If it becomes part of the Fair Deal scheme, it should be consistent with thorough safeguards if they are motivated to do so.”

Age Action believes that assisted decision-making methods need to be used to ensure that this protection is enforced.

Moynihan also said his charity was concerned about the broad focus on the plan.

“Should I put the energy somewhere?”

He warned that the plan could simply create “a very short-term option for residents.”

X Charities flag concerns about planned changes to the Fair Deal scheme

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