Specialised and Supported Housing

Housing policy should promote good outcomes for children, young people, and those most vulnerable in society including the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Ireland has so far failed to meet its commitment to the report “Time to Move on from Congregated Settings’. Research, and NGOs stress the need for permanent supported housing, and shows how it can break the institutional cycle of emergency accommodation and institutional care.

Housing for people with support needs must develop from congregated institutional and residential care, to prioritising community living with integrated packages of a home, support, and care. This policy document shows how 'Universal Design' thinking can improve individual and community wellbeing. Universal design thinking integrates supported housing into neighbourhoods and designs or regenerates to bring in green and blue spaces which supports animals and biodiversity. It also contributes to sustainability and mitigation of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The principles of ‘Support and Infill’ see universal support as a duty, and infill as a human-rights assertion of agency, possession and privacy within the support system, where the user participates in the design of the housing and supports to ensure inclusion.

Key policy points

Capacity should grow alongside community healthcare.

Discourage hoarding of land and improve the efficiency of its use through a site value tax system, which will help bring unused properties into use and halt the increasing unaffordability of property due to high land costs encouraging densification of low-density housing.

Support must be person-centred. This should include low, medium and high community health support through inclusion health, and wraparound support to live independently.

The social geography of supported housing and its neighbourhood matters. The spirit of place that increases feelings of safety and facilitates prosocial spaces and activity, contributes to a sense of belonging, and a feeling of self-worth and wellbeing.

Animal-friendly, biodiversity-supportive, green and blue spaces should be part of the design or regeneration of supported housing and its neighbourhoods, for individual and community wellbeing, sustainability and mitigation of climate and biodiversity emergencies.

Policy revised: January 2021

UN Sustainable Development Goals: 1, 3, 9, 10, 11, 16

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