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Ireland: Minority Groups and Housing Services: Barriers to Access report

A report published by the Marcy Law Centre states that ethnic minority households, including migrant households, face ‘unlawful’ exclusion from social housing lists in Ireland. This is due to the common and incorrect application of a 2012 circular (Circular 41/2012) from the Department of Housing, which provides advice on assessing the eligibility of non-Irish applicants for social housing. The report says that the circular is out of date and doesn't cover all immigrants' situations.

Housing applicants must apply in the area in which they ‘normally reside’ or have a ‘local connection’ to. This expectation of a local connection constructs a barrier for migrants which leads to them being excluded from social housing; a situation that has been consistently reported for more than 10 years. 

Migrants are also refused emergency accommodation because they cannot prove a ‘local connection’ to the area. The study says these minorities are overrepresented in homelessness figures, confirming earlier reports. Local authorities also impose new criteria on non-Irish national applicants that may be deemed discriminatory, e.g. having to provide proof of not owning a property abroad.

The report makes the following recommendations:

  • that Circular 41/2012 be updated and legal clarity and training on its application be provided;
  • that policies on access to emergency accommodation be transparent and applied consistently, including to ethnic minorities;
  • that housing authorities fully implement the Public Sector Duty to eliminate discrimination. This particular recommendation relates to the fact that racism was found by a previous report to be a significant barrier for people accessing social housing.

Read the full report online here.

Marcy Law Centre
Posted by:
Country Coordinator Ireland