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The Uneven Geography of Housing Allowance Claims in Ireland: Administrative, Financial and Social Implications

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  • Michelle Norris
  • Dermot Coates

Abstract

This article employs administrative data on claimants of rent supplement—the principal housing allowance for private renting households in the Republic of Ireland—to examine spatial variations in the numbers of claimants, the cost of this benefit and the characteristics of claimant households both within and between different regions. It reveals that these spatial variations illuminate some of the reasons for the unexpectedly high growth in both the numbers of claimants and the cost of rent supplement over the last decade. This geographical analysis casts doubts on several of the key supposed benefits of using housing allowances, rather than capital grant aid for social housing provision, to cater for the accommodation needs of low-income households. It reveals that, due to uneven claimant geography, the costs of the former are just as difficult to control as the latter. Moreover, housing allowances do not necessarily afford claimants greater consumer choice. As a result of funding constraints and discrimination by landlords their locational choices are severely constrained which in turn means that the socio-spatial segregation associated with housing allowances is as significant as that effected by social housing provision.

Suggested Citation

  • Michelle Norris & Dermot Coates, 2007. "The Uneven Geography of Housing Allowance Claims in Ireland: Administrative, Financial and Social Implications," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(4), pages 435-458.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:intjhp:v:7:y:2007:i:4:p:435-458
    DOI: 10.1080/14616710701650468
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