An additional block grant must be given to every Local Authority in the country to address waiting lists for essential works under the housing adaptation grant aid for older and disabled persons, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
John Cummins, party spokesperson on Housing, Local Government and Heritage, said the maximum grants available have become insufficient to meet the costs involved in carrying out these works given the significant cost inflation that has been experienced in the construction sector.
Senator Cummins said: “Housing for All commits to reviewing the full suite of Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability. It is my understanding that a report is being finalised which would address a number of areas including the maximum grant limits, income thresholds and a streamlining of the application and decision making process.
“On May 1st, Minister Darragh O’Brien and Minister Kieran O’Donnell allocated €83.125m in national funding for Housing Adaptation Grants for Older and Disabled people for 2023. This represented a 2.3% increase on the initial 2022 funding allocation and represents a continuation of the year-on-year increases in the grant since 2014.
“There is an urgent need to raise the grant amounts. This needs to be coupled with a corresponding increase in the level of funding provided to all Local Authorities.”
Currently there are three grant schemes in operation:
- The Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability assists people with a disability to have necessary adaptations, repairs or improvement works carried out in order to make their accommodation more suitable for their needs – a maximum grant of up to €30,000 is available which may cover up to 95% of the costs.
- The Mobility Aids Grant is available to fast-track grants to cover a basic suite of works to address the mobility problems. Qualifying works include the provision of stair lifts, level access showers, access ramps, grab rails and some minor adaptation works – a maximum grant of €6,000 is available which may cover 100% of the cost.
- The Housing Aid for Older People Grant assists older people living in poor housing conditions to have necessary repairs or improvements carried out. Grant eligible works include structural repairs or improvements, re-wiring, repairs to or replacement of windows and doors, provision of water supply and sanitary facilities, and provision of heating – a maximum grant of €8,000 is available which may cover up to 95% of the approved cost of works.
Senator Cummins concluded: “The value for money provided to the state through these three grant schemes is immense. They ensure older persons in particular are able to remain in their homes longer and provide those with a disability the necessary supports to live independently in their own home.
“While I welcome the review, I would call for a speedy implementation of its finding and an additional capital allocation to every Local Authority to enable them to clear any backlog which they may have.”