Journal Article

Housing supplements and deprivation in Ireland

September 27, 2022

Economic and Social Review, Vol. 53 No. 3, Autumn 2022

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In this paper we use Irish data to simulate the impact of housing supplements (like HAP and RAS) on deprivation. We consider this effect overall and for different social risk groups, using the SILC dataset. We also compare the predicted deprivation of housing supplement recipients to the predicted deprivation of Local Authority tenants. Housing supplements are designed to cover the housing needs of vulnerable families in the private rental sector and many of these supplements provide important support. We find that housing supplements are more common among vulnerable social risk groups; lone parents and the unemployed are the most likely to receive these. We also find that recipients of housing supplements have similar rates of predicted deprivation when compared to those in Local Authority housing. Finally, we show that the predicted probability of deprivation falls after we consider the impact of these on a respondent’s total equivalised income. This effect is particularly large for vulnerable groups like lone parents. The paper helps to understand the importance of housing supplements as a means of reducing deprivation, and the social risk differences in this effect. Debate on the topic of housing supplements has focused on the transfers’ costs to the Exchequer, but their efficacy as a form of social protection has been less examined.