ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has today launched a campaign to raise awareness of the hidden housing crisis among older people.
The organisation is calling on the Government to provide funding towards developing a new, age-friendly model of housing and to update Rebuilding Ireland to reflect the needs of an ageing Ireland.
At the launch of the campaign, former broadcaster and journalist Vincent Browne urged the government to prioritise housing for older people.
"I am here today to support ALONE as they work to prevent the housing crisis faced by older people from becoming a homelessness crisis," he said.
"With the number of over 65s set to increase dramatically in the next couple of decades, the situation for older people trying to secure rented and lifetime accommodation is set to get worse!"
Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, added: "As people age, they can often no longer afford to rent.
"Rents are currently exceeding their former peak in 2008. The contributory state pension is €1,032.63 per month, but average market rent in Ireland is €1,227.
"At the moment, an older person relying on their contributory pension can’t afford to rent a home. There is an assumption within the pensions system that older people do not need to rent or do not have accommodation costs, yet in 2016, there were 15,883 people over 60 in the private rental sector."
For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in the community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032 or visit www.alone.ie.
The Government is today being urged to develop a new age-friendly model of housing for older people.
ALONE, the group which supports older people at home, says the elderly are the hidden victims of the housing crisis.
CEO Sean Moynihan says an older person relying on their pension cannot afford to pay rent.
"Who pays the rent when you retire? Unfortunately, for every house we have, we have 30-40 older people looking for it," he said.
"Ultimately, as house ownership falls, how will people pay the rent when they retire, or if a partner was bereaved?"
The contributory state pension is €1,032 per month, but average market rent in Ireland is around €1,200.
It is warning that there is an assumption older people do not need to rent or do not have accommodation costs.
However, Mr Moynihan said that in 2016, there were 15,883 people over 60 in the private rental sector.
He believes problems older people face in obtaining rented and lifetime accommodation will only get worse unless action is taken and he is urging the Government to update the Rebuilding Ireland plan to reflect the needs of an ageing Ireland.