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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2011): Social housing - overseas

From asset based welfare to welfare housing? The changing function of social housing in Ireland

M. Norris and T. Fahey

Housing Studies, vol.26, 2011, p. 459-469

For much of its history, Irish social housing not only sought to improve housing conditions for those on lower incomes, but also served as a stepping stone to owner occupation. In addition it served as part of the state building project in the decades after independence from the UK. These features meant that it had more in common with the asset-based welfare housing policies that are common in South-East Asia than with social housing in Western Europe. From the mid-1980s the role of social housing in Ireland changed and following radical cutbacks in funding and output, the sector contracted and evolved towards the model of welfare housing common in Western countries. However, policymakers have struggled to address the implications of the transition, and vestiges of the traditional role of social housing are still evident, as a result of which the boundaries between social housing, private renting and home ownership in Ireland have become increasingly nebulous.

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