ICON Community Development Project

Responding to issues experienced by women in the Private Rented Sector

Minister Joe O'Brien with a group of people from ICON Community Development Project standing outside a brick building
Woman from ICON and Minister Joe O'Brien stand outside brick building
collage of colourful images from ICON

ICON is a community network based in the northeast inner city of Dublin with a long history of engagement with community development and social inclusion programmes and practices.

Within the Northeast Inner City there is a large amount of very poor quality (and expensive) private rented accommodation. The ICON Community Development Project will focus on women and the right to adequate housing in the private rented sector in the northeast inner city. Women’s experiences of housing are different from those of men. This includes women’s pathways into and out of homelessness, interactions with housing services, and access to affordable and adequate housing standards, including the private market.

Access to affordable and adequate housing is profoundly gendered and intimately linked to women’s poverty. Women’s disadvantaged position in the labour market, including part-time, precarious and/or low-paid employment and unpaid care work, has a direct impact on their housing. Market-dominated housing policies tend to disadvantage women, particularly female-led households. Closely linked to the gender pay gap, there is a gender property gap in terms of women’s ability to rent and buy homes, and the proportion of women’s income spent on rent. On average, women have lower incomes and less capital than men, and are therefore more likely to be renters or in less advantageous housing circumstances on the private market.

This project is community based and community led. It aims to work with marginalised women using a community development approach that will empower collaboration and seek to address the issue of housing in the private rented sector in the area.

Using a community development approach, the project will:

  • Access women living in rented accommodation in the NEIC with a focus on women in poor quality housing and in receipt of rent supplement/ Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)
  • Develop a grassroots campaign for the right to housing led by women in the NEIC
  • To inform women of their rights in private rented accommodation and landlord obligations
  • Explore common issues/struggles faced by women in private rented accommodation
  • Build a community of support for women facing housing struggles in the NEIC
  • Develop peer led research into housing needs/issues facing women in the private rented sector
  • Provide training on a range of issues in private rented accommodation