Many social housing residents are currently living below the poverty line, one of the more alarming figures included in a report published by the Waterford-based Respond Housing Association.
The report, titled ‘The Well-Being of Parents, Children & Neighbourhoods: A National Study if Families in Respond! Estates’ was launched at the Respond National Conference held in Portlaoise on Monday.
According to the research, the average weekly household income of Respond residents, based on rent data, comes to €164, below the individual poverty line in Ireland which, in 2005, stood at €193 per week.
“This is only one of many startling facts that came to light thanks to this research report. I would suggest that one of the main reasons for this is the high level of home-makers living on Respond Estates,” said Respond Chief Executive Pat Cogan ofm.
Respond commissioned the report last year “in order to ascertain the well-being of parents, children and neighbourhoods,” with and 39 per cent of Respond households interviewed for the study.
Almost 63 per cent of Respond mothers stay at home which differs dramatically to the national figure of 38 per cent. The majority of Respond mothers in employment tend to work on a part-time basis
“This is amazing at a time of such economic buoyancy and may be an indicator of the disincentive effects of the Irish social welfare and tax system for those with weak earning capacity,” added Pat Cogan.
“While we are relieved that we are housing those most in need, we are calling on all sectors of Irish society to do more. From the government, to the HSE, to local authorities, we all have a part to play.
“It is disgraceful in modern Ireland to expect a family to survive on €164 per week or €8,537 annually. Nationally in Ireland there are more than 100,000 children living in consistent poverty.
“Despite all the wealth generated in this country in the past ten years, our experience has been that while the rich accumulate more wealth, those in poverty simply remain trapped. It is little wonder then anti-social behaviour and criminality is increasing.”
The Portlaoise conference was chaired by Barnardos CEO Fergus Finlay.