New publication of the RILSA

Godarová, Jana – Trbola, Robert - Jahoda , Robert – Rákoczyová, Miroslava
The affordability of housing and the current housing situation of the senior population
Praha: RILSA, 2017. 159 pp. - ISBN 978-80-7416-250-3

The transition of the economically active phase of life to economic inactivity is often associated with a decrease in net disposable household income of the senior citizens. This can have a negative impact on housing affordability. The aim of this study is to evaluate changes in the affordability of housing and the housing situation of the senior population between the years 2005 and 2014. In addition, we try to assess whether the elderly as a social group have become a new vulnerable group facing problems with housing affordability, or which segments of the senior population have these problems.
Our analysis shows an upward trend in costs related to housing, but the senior population is far better protected against this trend than the non-senior population because of the fact that senior citizens mostly live in owner-occupied homes associated with lower housing costs. Therefore, in terms of ability to pay housing costs, the average senior household does not show major problems. However, the analysis identified also the households of senior citizens who live alone and who are more burdened by housing costs, which often exceed the threshold of 40% of income (the indicator "housing cost overburden rate"). In the Czech Republic, the number of households with costs exceeding 40% of income more than doubled during the reporting period (in 2014, this concerned 197,000 lone pensioner households).
In the same period, positive trends were seen also in the quality of seniors’ housing. This included, for example, a growth in floor space per one elderly household, elimination of the extent of inadequate housing conditions (humidity, noise, dirt, etc.). Also positive is the fact that households of the elderly are generally more satisfied with their housing than the rest of society.
What may pose a potential risk in terms of financial availability of housing to seniors is their dependence on pension benefits from the first pillar of the pension system. Together with the expected decline in the replacement ratio for newly assessed pensions and their increasing differentiation, this may lead to an increase in the proportion of households with housing costs higher than 30% of their disposable income in the upcoming years. In view of the steadily increasing proportion of elderly households in society, this can place a higher burden on the social system in the upcoming years.
The second part of the study mainly focuses on assessing the adequacy of the attributes of the housing-related allowance system in combination with social services and municipal housing policy in addressing the needs of elderly clients. The issue of housing for seniors is not limited only to questions related to the functionality of the allowance system and other support systems for this population; specific aspects associated with the changing needs of the current senior population are also reflected significantly. In this part, key emphasis is therefore placed on the typical problems associated with housing that seniors address through allowance systems and social services, as well as on the related use of inadequate tools in the respective agendas and present practices. A reflection is presented on the causes of housing-related problems of the senior population, as well as a reflection on the manifestations and impacts of these problems on the life situation of seniors. The degree of the risk of loss of housing, which is often influenced by specific characteristics of individual seniors, is evaluated, too, in this part of the study. The structure of their housing-related problems is then further developed by identification of the coping strategies on the side of the seniors, as well as on the side of systemic measures. Attention is also paid to barriers latently present in allowance systems and practices in social work, due to which seniors may be systematically excluded from entitlement to housing benefits and housing supplement or to efficient social services, hence also provisions of local housing policies.

Fulltext  (only in Czech)

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