Monday, 12 January 2015

Disabled People let Down by Both Sinn Fein and the Government


At the January meeting of Dublin City Council Fianna Fáil Councillor David Costello during a housing and homeless debate raised the point that DCC has a duty not just to look after the homeless in our city but also the other vulnerable sections of society.  In a question to the Chief Executive of DCC Cllr. Costello asked him to outline the trend in spending by the council on the disabled persons grants over the period from 2008 to 2014.

Cllr. Costello said 'The housing grant scheme covers 80 per cent of the cost of building works required to meet the needs of disabled and elderly people. 2014 saw an almost 60%  reduction in the housing adaptation grant in comparison to 2013. During the councils budgetary process for 2015, I proposed increasing the allocation for this grant. This proposal was voted down by the controlling group made up of Sinn Fein-Labour-the Greens and Independents. Instead they introduced a budget which decreased the total allocation for 2015.'

Costello added "this comes as major blow to disability groups, especially following the changes which were introduced by central government 12 months ago. These changes included:
  • increase in eligibility age for the older person grants from 60 to 66.
  • all household members over the age of 18, who are not in full-time education, are now included in means assessments for grants.
  • changes to the income bands for the housing adaptation and housing aid schemes.
  • Households in the lowest band with an income of €30,000 or less, who were previously granted 100% of costs, now only get 95%.
  • The upper income limit to be eligible for both schemes was reduced from €65,000 to €60,000.
"Elderly and disabled people deserve to live in functional accommodation that allows them to live independently and with dignity. I am calling on the council to allocate funding to Disabled persons grants if and when money comes available during the year."

"Last year the housing Minister Jan O'Sullivan announced of an overall increase in funding of €3m for these grants. I would claim based on the numbers below that she has reneged on this promise and let down the most vulnerable in our society."



Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme
Mobility Aids Housing Grant Scheme
Housing Aid for Older People
2008
€2,192,470
€68,277
€525,694
2009
€8,719,955
€284,394
€1,621,922
2010
€6,670,158
€183,370
€1,417,368
2011
€8,605,276
€299,990
€1,177,058
2012
€8.723,942
€351,476
€848,652
2013
€6,062,722
€184,283
€450,297
2014
€3,543,243
€166,136
€176,725


"Elderly and disabled people deserve to live in functional accommodation that allows them to live independently and with dignity. I am calling on the council to allocate funding to Disabled persons grants if and when money comes available during the year."

Additional Information

Question and Response posed by Cllr. Costello at the meeting of Dublin City Council on the 12th of Jan 2015

Can the Chief Executive provide me with the details of annual totals for grants paid out under the home grants scheme for the years 2006 to 2014 under the following headings:

The Mobility Aids Housing Grant Scheme
The Housing Aid for Older People Grant Scheme
The Housing Adaption Grant Scheme

In addition can the Chief Executive provide details of the number of people waiting on grants at the end of each of the years 2006 to 2014?

CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S REPLY:
The Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme for People with a Disability, the Housing Aid for Older People Grant Scheme and the Mobility Aids Housing Grant Scheme were only established at the end of 2007 so the annual totals for grants paid are from 2008 to date.

Total value of grants paid for years 2008 to 2014.


Housing Adapatation Grant Scheme
MobilityAidsHousing Grant Scheme
Housing Aid for Older People
2008
€2,192,470
€68,277
€525,694
2009
€8,719,955
€284,394
€1,621,922
2010
€6,670,158
€183,370
€1,417,368
2011
€8,605,276
€299,990
€1,177,058
2012
€8.723,942
€351,476
€848,652
2013
€6,062,722
€184,283
€450,297
2014
€3,543,243
€166,136
€176,725


In the period 2008-2014, the grant scheme was closed for two periods in 2009 and 2013 respectively and these were the only times that applicants would have been waiting on grants at the end of the indicated years. The number of applications awaiting approval  at 31st December 2009 was 1371 and the number of applications awaiting approval at 31st December 2013 was 257.

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