What is Social Housing Support?

Social housing support is housing provided to people who are assessed as being unable to afford housing from their own resources.

Housing support can be provided in a number of ways:

  • Rented tenancies in Cork City Council owned properties;
  • Sourcing social housing properties from the private sector through schemes such as the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) or Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme;
  • Allocations to accommodation provided by approved housing bodies (AHBs). Approved housing bodies are independent, non-profit making organisations that provide rented housing on a similar basis to the City Council;
  • Provision of specific accommodation for homeless people, older people and Travellers.

In order to be assessed to see if you are qualified to access social housing support, you must submit an application and be assessed based on your current circumstances.   

How Do I Apply?

To see if you are qualified for social housing support, Cork City Council will assess your eligibility and your housing need. You must complete an application process giving information on your current circumstances. The application form and income certificate form to apply are available at the Housing public counter in City Hall, which is open from 10:00 to 16:00 Monday to Friday inclusive, or can be downloaded by clicking the links below.

Housing Application form

Income certificate

It is important that both forms are read and completed in full, and that all information and documentation required is submitted to the City Council. If an application form is submitted with missing or incomplete information, this will delay your assessment. There is a checklist at the front of the application form to help you to ensure that everything we need to assess your application is submitted, and a guide if you need further assistance can be downloaded below:

Guide to Social Housing Application form

The rules for the assessment are set out in national legislation, and in Cork City Council’s Allocations Scheme.

Cork City Council Allocations Scheme

You can only apply for social housing support to one local authority, usually in the area where you live, or to which you have a local connection. More information what constitutes a local connection is explained below. Once you have submitted your application, it will be assessed to determine your eligibility and housing need.

How do I show I have a local connection to Cork City?

If you are not normally resident in Cork City Council’s area, you may still be able to submit an application if you, or someone else in your household, can show you have a local connection here, based on any of the circumstances below:

  • You or anyone in your household has resided in the area for a continuous 5 year period at any time; or
  • You or anyone in your household are employed in a job in the area concerned or in a job which is located within 15 kilometres of the area; or
  • You or anyone in your household is in full time education in any university, college, school or other type of educational establishment in the area concerned; or
  • You or anyone in your household has an enduring physical, sensory, mental health or intellectual impairment is attending a medical or residential establishment in the area concerned that has facilities or services specifically related to such impairment; or
  • A relative of anyone in your household lives in the area concerned and has lived there for a minimum period of 2 years.

If none of these circumstances apply to your household, you can still apply to Cork City Council for assessment, but your application will only be accepted at our discretion, based on the urgency of your particular household situation.

Am I eligible for Social Housing Support?

There are number of criteria to determine if you are eligible for social housing support with Cork City Council, which are listed below:

Age-You must be 18 years of age or older.

Right to live in Ireland- You must have a legal right to remain in the State on a long term basis (if you are from another country).

Income – your net income must not be higher that the limits for your household composition as specified in national legislation. For Cork City Council, the income limits range from €35,000 annual net income (for a single applicant) up to €42,000 annual net income (for a household of 3 adults and 4 or more children). More details on the income limits and how income is assessed in outlined in the Income Limits and Household Means information document below:

Cork City Income Limits and Household Means Policy Information

Alternative Accommodation – you must not own, or have access, to a house or other property that you could live in. 

Local Authority Rent Arrears – if you have previously been a tenant of Cork City Council or any other local authority and owe rent arrears on your previous property, you may not be considered eligible for a new application.

The City Council will need to check you are eligible based on these criteria before we look at your housing need.

If you are not eligible for social housing support, you will receive a letter from the City Council to confirm this. You will have to explore other options to determine how your housing requirements can be met from your own resources, such as renting a property privately, purchasing a property or adapting your existing accommodation.

If you are eligible, the City Council will next look at your housing need. 

How do you assess my housing need?

The City Council will consider all of your circumstances, such as the suitability of your current accommodation for you and other members of your household.  Your household is the number of people on your application form, this may be one or more people.

Your need assessment will take into account:

  • whether the current accommodation is an institution, emergency accommodation or a hostel,
  • whether the current accommodation is fit for human habitation having regard to the matters set out in the Second Schedule to the Housing Act 1966,
  • whether the current accommodation is overcrowded,
  • the extent to which the current accommodation meets any accommodation requirement arising from the enduring physical, sensory, mental health or intellectual impairment of a household member,
  • whether persons who are sharing accommodation with another person or persons, in the opinion of Cork City Council, have a reasonable requirement for separate accommodation
  • whether the current accommodation is unsuitable for the household’s adequate housing: 
    (i)  in any other material respect, having regard to particular household circumstances, including rent affordability, or
    (ii) on exceptional medical or compassionate grounds.

If you are assessed as being both eligible and in need, Cork City Council will issue a letter to you confirming that you are qualified for social housing support. Your details will be added to the record of qualified households (also know as the 'housing list' or 'housing waiting list').

If the assessment does not show that you have a housing need under the criteria listed above, you will receive a letter from the City Council confirming this. You will have to explore other options to determine how your housing requirements can be met from your own resources.

How long will the assessment take?

Subject to proper completion of the application form and all necessary documentation, the process of assessment will be completed within a maximum period of 12 weeks of the form being received.

If the City Council contacts you to request additional information to verify your circumstances after your form is submitted, the assessment will be completed within 6 weeks of the information being received.

What happens next?

Cork City Council will issue a letter to you confirming the result of your assessment and whether you are qualified for social housing support. If you are qualified, you are added to Cork City Council’s record of qualified households (also known as the housing waiting list).

You can then access a range of social housing supports, including private sector properties through the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) or Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme; accommodation provided by approved housing bodies (AHB's) or a tenancy in a Cork City Council owned property.

How long will it take to receive an offer of housing?

While Cork City Council will take into account all of your household's circumstances when considering your application, unfortunately, there is currently exceptionally high demand for social housing support and we cannot give applicants a timeframe for the offer of a City Council property.

The Allocations Scheme provides the means for determining the order of priority to be given in the allocation of dwellings to applicants on the housing waiting list on the basis of the classification of their needs. Within these groups of applicants, priority will be determined based on credit time (i.e. length of time since you were added to the housing waiting list) and individual circumstances.

The length of time it will take to receive an offer of a City Council depends on a number of factors:

  • Levels of demand for social housing;
  • Availability of social housing in your area of choice;
  • How flexible you can be in terms of the type of property and area of the city you would consider;
  • Regularly using the Choice Based Lettings (CBL) system to express interest in available properties (more information is available below);
  • Your household's circumstances.
Information on the Rental Accommodation Scheme and Housing Assistance Payment Scheme

Many applicants secure tenancies through the RAS and HAP schemes - further information can be found by clicking the links below

Information on RAS

Information on HAP

Information on Choice based Letting (CBL)

Cork City Council allocates properties using a system called Choice Based Letting (CBL), which allows applicants on the waiting list to make decisions regarding where they would like to live and tenure choices (Cork City Council or a tenancy with an Approved Housing Body). 

Once you have been qualified for social housing support, you will receive a letter containing a unique user name and PIN with a guide showing you how to access the website. The City Council advertises properties which are available to let each week and applicants can submit an expression of interest in any suitable properties.

The properties will then be allocated from the list of applicants who have expressed interest in order of priority, taking into account all relevant information (i.e. if the household composition is suitable for the property; credit time and any other relevant circumstances). Further information is available by clicking on the link below.

Information on Choice Based Letting

Important Information

It is very important that you keep your housing application up to date, especially if your circumstances change. You need to contact us if:

  • You move house - please complete a Change of Address form with proof of your new address.
  • Your household composition changes (e.g. if you want to add a partner or spouse; if you have a new baby)
  • Your income changes - you change jobs or your income changes for any other reason
  • You receive a Summary Social Housing Assessment review form - Cork City Council is required to complete annual review of demand for social housing support. If you are contacted as part of this process, it is very important that you complete and return the required documents, as failure to do so may lead to your application being closed.
  • Any other circumstances change which directly impact on your housing need.

Contact Us

Postal Address: Housing Allocations Section, Housing and Community Directorate, City Hall, Anglesea Street, Cork, T12 T997.

In Person: The Housing Public Counter in the Atrium at City Hall is open from 10:00 to 16:00 Monday to Friday inclusive.

Due to the volume of households on the waiting list, we are unable to offer individual appointments to applicants. However, the staff at the counter can assist you with any queries you may have in relation to your application.

By E-mail: housingallocation@corkcity.ie

By Telephone: (021) 4924306 / 4924198 / 4924470 / 4924237 / 4924315 / 4924593.

As we receive a high volume of calls, if you telephone and are put through to voicemail, please leave a message with your contact information so we can get back to you.