On foot of today’s announcement that Dublin City Council are no longer in a position to fund the Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme for People with a Disability and the Housing Aid for Older Person’s Grant Scheme, Deputy Róisín Shortall has branded the Government’s decision not to provide the necessary additional funding as being “not only the very worst form of austerity, but also just plain stupid”.
The Dublin North-West TD explained; “the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government’s decision to make available less than a quarter of the funding needed to cover currently approved grants is not just a devastating and inhumane blow to people in genuine need, it also makes no financial sense whatsoever. Without assistance in making their homes habitable older people and those with a disability will have no choice but to remain in hospitals or nursing homes, thus driving healthcare costs up even further.”
“Likewise, as these schemes also support the local economy by providing work to local contractors, their suspension will directly affect employment in the area, resulting in higher welfare costs, less income tax being collected, and less spending locally. It is clear the Government’s approach to balancing the country’s books is in need of a serious re-think” concluded Deputy Shortall.
These means tested schemes fund items such as stair-lifts, extra railings, walk-in showers, and downstairs toilet facilities for people with a disability, and the cost of repairing leaking roofs, replacing boilers, and in some cases installing central heating for the elderly. As of last March DCC has only been able to approve those with the highest medical priority due to a 40% cut in their funding from the Department of the Environment. However, following an urgent request to have this reviewed upwards, DCC was advised last week that additional funding of €370,002 is available. As €1.9m worth of grants are already approved, DCC have decided that this funding will have no significant impact on the viability of the current schemes, closed them to all new applications, and suspended both unapproved applications and approved applications that are not priority status.