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06 Dec 2021

Kildare Senator calls for changes to house grants

'Not fit for purpose'

Housing adaption grants are not 'fit for purpose' says Sen Mark Wall

A Kildare senator has slammed the Housing Adaption and Housing Aid grants, branding them as 'not fit for purpose'.

Speaking in the Seanad, this week, Labour's Mark Wall requested an urgent debate with the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage on the proposed review of housing aid and housing adaptation grants administered by local authorities.

Senator Wall stated, “My office, particularly in recent months, has received an increasing number of calls from constituents stating the grants and assistance being offered do not cover the increased building costs and are no longer fit for purpose. In one case, the cheapest quote the person dealing with my office received was more than 200% above the maximum grant payment, which is €30,000.

"The quote that person sought was for the works recommended by the local authority's occupational therapist. The person had engaged with five different contractors to try to get a cheaper quote. The problem many people in Kildare and, I am sure, throughout the country are having is that the amounts being offered by the local authorities are falling well short of the increasing quotes they are getting.

"This is having a knock-on effect. In some cases, I am dealing with, the applicants must remain in hospital because the family cannot afford the cost of the works to bring them home. In an increasing number of cases, the people can no longer live in their own home, causing an additional cost to the State through the nursing homes subvention scheme. I am turning to another arm of the State and trying to engage the community welfare service to see whether it can come up with the
difference to secure these payments and ensure the grants are paid. These issues causing a lot of stress, as you can imagine, to loved ones at a most difficult time. There is a feeling of helplessness in offering them assistance. I ask her to contact the Minister for a debate”

Commenting after raising it in the Seanad, Sen Wall stated; “Building costs have escalated and the grants are no longer fit for purpose. If Government are serious about allowing people to continue to live in their own homes, then these grants must be changed now. Families are going through so much stress at this time trying to care for loved ones."

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