What is Think Ahead, Think Housing all about? 

Think Ahead, Think Housing is an Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) initiative which asks you to plan for your housing needs.  

Does your current accommodation suit your accessibility needs? Do you expect you’ll need accommodation now or in the near future? 

IWA’s Think Ahead, Think Housing campaign encourages people with disabilities to apply to their local authority for housing so that they are aware of your needs and will include you in their plans.  

What is the ‘local housing list’ and why do I need to register with it? 

Each local authority (e.g. County Councils) provides social housing to people who cannot otherwise afford to secure their own home. Housing is allocated according to eligibility and need. Rents are based on the household’s ability to pay. Social housing is also provided by Approved Housing Bodies such as Cluid, Respond and IWA. 

Local authorities have responsibility for housing and have an approved housing waiting list for each area. This is a record of people eligible for housing support and what their needs are.

If you need accommodation, now or in the future, it is essential that you apply to your local authority for housing.

How do I get on the approved local authority housing list? 

To get on the approved housing list, you need to complete an application form with the local authority in the area where you wish to live. Usually, you should already be living in the area or have a connection to it.

When the local authority decides if you are eligible, they will add you to the approved housing list with a record of your particular housing needs.

You can access your local authority application form here

To be eligible for social housing, you must show that you don’t have other suitable accommodation and that your income is below the threshold set by the local authority. This threshold will differ depending on the part of the country you are in.

When the local authority decides if you are eligible, they will add you to the housing list with a record of your particular housing needs. 

Can I get help to complete the application form for social housing? 

Here is an easy to read guide on how to complete the application form: 

Staff at IWA Community Centres are available to assist IWA members to complete the application form. 

Your local Citizen’s Information Centre and local authority can also provide assistance.  

Once I’m on the approved housing list, how long will I have to wait to be accommodated? 

Social housing waiting list times will vary greatly depending on the area, so the local authority you are registered with will be able to let you know. The average waiting time is 5 to 10 years, so it is important to join the list as early as possible.

Some people on the list will be prioritised if they have greater needs, so if you have an urgent need for accommodation, seek a meeting with the local authority Housing Department to ask about your status on the list. You may be able to provide further information (medical reports etc.) to demonstrate your needs.

If you are applying on medical and /or disability grounds you should also complete the Disability and/or Medical Information Form (HMD – Form1). If you are granted medical / disability status you will be moved closer to the top of the approved waiting list.

The nature of my disability means that I would need Personal Assistance (PA) support in order to live independently. What do I need to do about this when applying for social housing? 

You do not need to have your PA service set up to apply for social housing but you should contact your local HSE Disability Manager at the time of your application, to let them know of your requirements. 

If you are offered your own home, you have a 6-month period to set up your PA service. However, we recommend that you do not wait to be offered a house before applying for a PA service.  

You can also contact the local IWA Assisted Living Service who will be able to advise you how to contact your local HSE Disability Manager. IWA provides PA services but needs to be funded by the HSE to do so.

What other information and support does IWA provide regarding housing for people with disabilities? 

Click here to learn more about IWA’s accessible housing

Where can I get more details on applying for social housing? 

The Housing Agency have developed “Housing options: A guide to housing options” which is available through local authorities and on their website.

The Citizens Information Service also provides detailed information on this topic