Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly, Barry Cowen, says new proposals being put forward by Offaly County Council’s Strategic Policy Committee on Housing, chaired by Cllr Peter Ormond, will help reform the Housing Adaptation Grant to make it fit for purpose.
A housing adaptation grant is available where changes need to be made to a home to make it suitable for a person with a physical, sensory or intellectual disability or mental health difficulty to live in.
Deputy Cowen said, “Currently there are many people in Offaly who need financial assistance to carry out accessibility works on their home. The Housing Adaptation Grant is used for this purpose, but unfortunately there is a long waiting list because the Government has underfunded the scheme in recent years.
“It’s simply unacceptable that people are left stuck on a waiting list despite the fact that they need assistance to allow them to continue to live in their own homes. The problem is getting worse as the waiting list is increasing by the month. My colleague Cllr Peter Ormond has brought forward comprehensive proposals to tackle this problem. He has briefed all Fianna Fáil representatives in Offaly on these proposals and it is clear that they are necessary and should be implemented without delay.
“The proposals centre on encouraging people to make use of the lesser known Mobility Aid Grant which can often meet all of their needs. To achieve this we want to increase the maximum amount of money available under the grant from €4,000 to €6,000 so that a greater amount of work can be covered by the scheme. Trained Occupational Therapists will be encouraged to promote this scheme when visiting patients.
“Greater use of the Mobility Aid Grant will reduce pressure on the Housing Adaptation Grant waiting list. It will ensure that people who need urgent assistance are taken care of quickly instead of being left stuck on a waiting list for months on end.
“The proposals we have put forward will help meet the immediate needs of a greater number of people. One thing is clear - we can’t continue with the current system as there are people on the waiting list who may never receive the assistance they urgently need. The proposals brought forward by Cllr Ormond will be decided upon next week and I am hopeful that they will be implemented.”
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