Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Distress as Wicklow Housing Adaptation Grant for the elderly and people with disabilities cut by 40%

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has said the cut of 40% to the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability, Mobility Aids Grant and Housing Aid for Older People Grant will have a devastating effect on the elderly and people with disabilities. The grant given to Wicklow County Council by the Government has been cut by a staggering €387,676.31 in 2013

Cllr Brady said “This is a serious blow for elderly people and people with a disability. The purpose of the grants are to allow the person adapt or modify their homes to enable them continue living there. In Decembers budget the national allocation was reduced from €54m in 2012 to €35m in 2013. Wicklow County Council received notification of their 2013 allocation on 1st March; it has been cut by a staggering €387,676.31.”

Brady continued “These schemes have provided a life-line in the past to many older people and people with disabilities, it has enabled people who have qualified for the payment to convert downstairs rooms into toilets or shower rooms, or to fit a stair lift.  The means-tested grants can pay up to 95-100% of the cost of the work depending on which grant is applied for. These further cuts will mean that fewer people will be able to afford to adapt or modify their homes this year, the waiting period for funding will get longer, and inevitably people will no longer be able to live in their homes. Instead, some may be forced into residential care.”

“These cuts follow on from other cuts aimed at people with disabilities and the most vulnerable in society, recently the Department of Health announced that it planned on axing the mobility allowance and motorised transport grant for those with disabilities. Fine Gael and Labour are clearly picking on the most vulnerable in our society and are hell bent on forcing the ordinary people of Ireland to hurt the most for the gross mismanagement of the State by Fianna Fail.”

Cllr Brady went onto say “Housing staff in Wicklow County Council have had to take the difficult decision to write out to elderly applicants who had previously applied for funding to have necessary repairs or improvements carried out to their houses and notify them that their application will not be considered and that the council have to adhere to 3 priority lists circulated by the Department of the Environment on behalf of Minister for housing Jan O’Sullivan.”

Brady concluded “These cuts will clearly affect the most vulnerable people in Wicklow and will inevitably cost the State substantially more if people are forced from their homes and into residential care. I am calling on the 4 Government TDs and Labour and Fine Gael councillors to lobby their Minister for Housing Jan O’Sullivan to reverse these appalling cuts in an attempt to help the elderly and disabled remain living at home where they can have a better quality of life.”

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