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Safe Home Ireland assists qualifying* (per criteria below) older Irish born emigrants to return to secure accommodation in Ireland. We liaise with Housing Associations in Ireland to explore appropriate secure housing options for qualifying older Irish emigrants seeking to return to social housing.
What is the criteria to apply for housing via Safe Home?
Qualifying Criteria, applicants must be:
- Older Irish born emigrants living abroad
- Aged 57 yrs +
- Capable of Independent living
- Living in rented accommodation abroad and unable to provide accommodation for themselves (from their own income/savings) on return to Ireland
How does the housing application process work?
If you fulfill the criteria outlined above, the first step in the process is to contact us for an application form and information pack.
I have sent in my Application Form, what happens now?
Once we receive the completed paperwork from you, your application will be processed and you will be included on our waiting list. We will write to you to confirm this and also to go through how a move to Ireland might affect your current entitlements.
Where Housing Association vacancies arise and they are willing to consider applications from returning emigrants, we will then send out an information fact sheet on the scheme to qualifying applicants on our list.
This fact sheet will include photographs and additional details on the scheme and the general area (Example: proximity to shops/services/transport links etc)
On receipt of the information sheet, an applicant will decide whether or not they wish to submit their details for consideration. If an applicant is interested, we will then refer their details on to the Housing Association for consideration.
Where are the Safe Home properties located?
Safe Home does not manage or build any properties of our own. We operate by trying to match our applicants up with existing Housing Associations throughout the country.
If I am sent details of a housing scheme that is unsuitable for my needs, will I be taken off the list if I don’t put myself forward for consideration?
We recognise that one housing scheme or location is not going to suit everybody. As long as Safe Home housing applicants keep in touch with us and up-date us on their circumstances, we will continue to send on details of other vacancies as they arise.
Will I have to travel home for interview?
Most Housing Associations will require applicants to travel for interview. This benefits both the Housing Association and the prospective tenant. It is a very big step to take to move to a property and an area that you have not viewed for yourself.
Note! Where people live further afield than the UK, the Housing Association may agree to telephone/skype interviews
I currently have a secure social housing tenancy abroad. Do Housing Associations in Ireland offer the same security?
Yes – the schemes that we work with all come under social housing guidelines. The tenancies are long-term secure options. Rents are set at an affordable level, depending on each individual tenant’s circumstances.
What type and size of properties are managed by Housing Associations?
There is no standard design for Housing Association schemes. Some properties will be apartments (most likely in cities), some will be houses and some (in rural areas in particular) will be small bungalows.
The housing options that Safe Home has access to is housing designed specifically for older people who can live independently or with minimum support. The properties are generally small one or two bedroom units. We do not have access to larger properties or ‘family type’ housing.
Do the Housing Associations offer any day to day supports?
Some developments will simply offer a housing option for older people with no additional supports. Others may have varying degrees of support services available: E.G. On-site managers, meals on wheels, communal laundry.
Details of Housing Association schemes on a county by county basis can be found via Irish Council for Social Housing website; www.icsh.ie/content/search-for-members
Does Safe Home have an input into setting rents, tenant’s rights or day to day management of these Housing Association schemes?
No – All of these issues are a matter for the Housing Association managing the scheme.
I am from Kildare originally but Westport in Co. Mayo is very pretty, can I be considered for housing there instead?
In our experience, Housing Associations that we deal with will generally always give priority to applicants originally from the area where the scheme is located or those with strong verifiable family connections in the locality. Therefore, applying for housing in an area where you have no links could result in a long wait.
How long will it take before my housing application is successful?
We cannot give any indication of how long the process may take. As the prospective landlord, the final decision on who to allocate properties to lies with the Housing Association managing the scheme (in consultation with the relevant Local Authority).
Nearly all of my current rent in the UK is covered by Housing Benefit. If offered a Housing Association tenancy in Ireland, will I have to pay rent?
All tenants, regardless of their income, must make a contribution from their own income of at least €30 per week towards their rent, for couples the minimum contribution is €40.
Generally to get assistance with rent costs in Ireland, (both in relation to social housing and in the private sector), all applicants must first apply to and be approved on the Local Authority Housing list in the area that they move to. Other conditions also apply, such as renting within set ‘caps’ for the area, means testing and residency requirements.
If offered a Housing Association tenancy, can I bring my pet with me?
Many Safe Home applicants have a much loved cat or dog and they could not even consider coming home without their beloved companion. Unfortunately, quite a number of the Housing Associations that we deal with operate a strict No Pets Policy.
Our advice is to check out the situation regarding the pets policy early on in the housing application process.
Note! In terms of guidelines for bringing a pet into the country, please refer to Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine www.agriculture.gov.ie/pets/
Can a younger member of my family be included in my Safe Home housing application? I may need them to come and live with me as my carer.
The housing that Safe Home has access to specifically caters to older people who can live independently. The schemes are set up with older people in mind. Housing Associations are reluctant to offer tenancies in these scheme where the joint tenant may be quite a lot younger, as in doing so, the property is likely to be ‘out of circulation’ for some considerable time.
Is there help available to cover the costs involved in moving?
No – Safe Home is not in a position to provide any financial assistance to help with travel or moving costs.
I meet the criteria to apply for housing via Safe Home and have been sent a Council form for completion. Does this mean that I could be considered for Council housing in Ireland as well as Housing Association schemes?
No – The reason we ask Safe Home applicants to complete Council application forms is that Councils have consultation rights when it comes to the allocation of Housing Association properties.
Generally speaking, to be considered for Council accommodation, applicants must be living in the catchment area of the relevant Local Authority so that a full assessment of their housing needs can be carried out by the Council. Occasionally, some Councils will make an exception to this and offer a property to a returning emigrant who is still living abroad. However, these cases are certainly exceptions to the rule.
It can be quite confusing and there is certainly a lot of ‘red tape’ involved in any application for social housing in Ireland at present. If there is anything at all that you are unclear about in relation to your Safe Home Housing Application, please do CONTACT US
For full information on social housing in Ireland: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/housing/local_authority_and_social_housing
I have just accepted the offer of a Housing Association tenancy. It’s very exciting but nerve-wrecking too. What should I do next?
It certainly can be daunting but try not to panic!
A member of the Safe Home team will keep in touch with you to advise on what you need to do BEFORE you move and paperwork to bring home with you etc. They will also make arrangements to go to visit you in your new home to assist with the process of getting into ‘the system’ here.
I have moved back to a Housing Association tenancy in Ireland; my circumstances have changed and I would like to arrange a transfer. Can Safe Home get me another house in Ireland?
Safe Home can certainly advise you on the application process. However, it is through the relevant Local Authority (Not Safe Home) that any application for a housing transfer would have to be made.
Note! It can often be very difficult to get a transfer in social housing as you may be considered ‘adequately housed’. However, issues such as health problems and other specific circumstances may be taken into consideration when assessing your situation.