Breen demands extra funding for the elderly

May 22nd, 2008 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Breen is calling on Central Government to increase the funding for Clare County Council to operate the Housing Adaptation Grant for the Elderly and for people with disabilities. Deputy Breen claims that the Council is being short changed by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government following the transfer of the Housing Adaptation Grant for the Elderly from the HSE and he is warning Minister Gormley that he must increase the capital allocations for those schemes for 2008 which his Department is due to issue shortly.

 

The Housing Adaptation Grant scheme for people with a Disability and a Mobility Aids Grant Scheme replaced the previous Disabled Persons Grant which has discontinued. The Housing Aid for Older People has transferred to Clare County Council from the HSE and replaces the Essential Repair Grants scheme and the Housing Aid for the Elderly scheme.

“When the former Housing Aid for the Elderly scheme was operated by the HSE they were fully funded to operate it, now Clare County Council only receive 80% of funding from the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and they have to make up the remaining 20% from their own resources.”

“Earlier this year Clare County Council avoided the axe following the acceptance of the 2008 budget with the reallocation of resources in some areas. While the amount of the grant funding allocated to Clare County Council increased by 5.13% compared to 2007, Clare is ranked 23rd out of 34 City and County Councils in terms of the allocation of Local Government Funding from the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Clare County Council will be severely tested in their efforts to provide basic services required for the remainder of this year. The Minister refused to meet to discuss this shortfall when I raised the matter with him earlier this year.”

“He cannot continue with this brusque attitude when it comes to funding for our elderly and people with disabilities. 391 people have applied already this year and Clare County Council expects that figure to reach 800 by the end of the year. They are already dealing with outstanding applications from 2007 prior to the introduction of these new schemes.”

 

“The types of works allowable under the schemes include the provision of access ramps, downstairs toilet facilities, stair-lifts, accessible showers, re-wiring, repairs/replacement of windows and doors and the provision of heating. These schemes which are means tested provide much needed assistance to the elderly and people with disabilities in carrying out essential repairs to their homes.”

“Minister Gormley’s Cabinet Colleague Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe on the 17th April 2008 when he was the then Minister for Housing, Urban Renewal and Developing Areas, announced that €13m was being allocated by his Department under the Special Housing Aid for the Elderly Scheme yet to date Clare County Council has not seen one cent of their allocation for 2008. While at the same time many of my constituents who are awaiting approval to proceed with much needed alternations are been advised that there is no funding. One woman contacted me recently who is wheelchair bound and unable to use the stairs, she urgently needs an extension to her home but she has been advised that there is no funding, there are many other similar stories.”

“The 2008 Funding Allocation from central governement must reflect the every increasing numbers of applications for the schemes and the serious shortfall in the Council’s own budget. The Programme for Government commits this Government to supporting older people to wish to have the opportunity to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, the best way for the Minister to live up to this commitment is to provide adequate funding for these schemes.”

See Parliamentary Question underneath for your info.

 

 

 
 

 

 

 
 

Question Nos. 568 and 587
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

Chun an Aire Comhshaoil, Oidhreachta agus Rialtais Áitiúil:

To the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government:

 

 

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the funding allocated to Clare County Council to operate the housing adaptation grant for the elderly and the housing adaptation grant for people with disabilities; the number of applicants facilitated under both schemes to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Pat Breen.

 

 

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of applications received for grant aid (details supplied) by North Tipperary County Council; the amount of grant aid issued to date to applicants since the schemes were introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Noel J. Coonan.

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 20th May, 2008.

Ref Nos: 19398/08 and 19777/08

 

REPLY

 

 

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Finneran):

 

I propose to take Question Nos. 568 and 587 together.

 

The most recent information received from Clare County Council and North Tipperary County Council regarding activity under the Housing Adaptation Grant Schemes for Older People and People with a Disability, is set out below.

 

 

 

Scheme

 

 

Clare County Council

 

 

North Tipperary County Council  

 

Apps Received

 

 

Apps ApprovedGrants PaidApps ReceivedApps ApprovedGrants Paid  

Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability

107

2431400

Mobility Aids Grant

29

1221200

Housing Aid for Older People Grant

255

6219800

 

 

 

The Housing Adaptation Grant Schemes for Older People and People with a Disability are funded by 80% recoupment available from my Department, together with 20% contribution from the resources of the local authority. Notification of the combined capital allocations for 2008 in respect of all of the Schemes will shortly issue to local authorities. It is then a matter for local authorities to decide on the specific level of funding to be directed towards each of the Schemes, from within the combined allocation notified to them by my Department, and to manage the operation of the Schemes in their area from within this allocation.