Housing Adaptation Grants have fallen by 45% since 2010

The scheme aims to fund improvements to the homes of the elderly and the disabled

The number of Housing Adaptation Grants handed out by the Government has fallen by 45 per cent since 2010, according to new figures. File photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

The number of Housing Adaptation Grants handed out by the Government has fallen by 45 per cent since 2010, according to new figures. File photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

 

The number of Housing Adaptation Grants handed out by the Government has fallen by 45 per cent and the amount of money reserved for the grants has decreased by a half since 2010, according to new figures.

There are three tenets to the Housing Adaptation Grant scheme - housing aid for older people, housing aid for people with a disability and mobility aid grants.

The grants are generally provided for repairs or improvements to houses that are in such a poor condition that it impacts on the independence of inhabitants.

Government funding allocated to the grant was cut over the course of the economic crisis, but restoration of the grant has begun over the last few years.

Statistics released to Fianna Fáil through a parliamentary question show that 7,596 home improvement grants were handed out to elderly or disabled people last year, down from 13,588 in 2010.

While grants totalling €77 million in value were approved six years ago, this fell to €38 million in 2015, during which time the average allocation fell from about €5,700 to approximately €5,000.

The leanest period for Housing Adaptation Grants was in 2013, when just 7,000 were approved.

However, the number of approved grants has recovered somewhat in recent years.

Criticism

There have been calls to increase both the volume and value of the Housing Adaptation Grants given out by the Government ahead of its upcoming budget for 2017.

“This situation has arisen because the Government is no longer providing sufficient matching funding to allow local authorities to pay out the grant,” said Fianna Fáil’s housing spokesman Barry Cowen.

“The Government must work towards restoring this essential payment and honour the commitment it made in the Programme for Government to support further increases in funding for this scheme.

“This scheme is essential to helping people maintain their independence and remain in their own home for as long as possible, which is a central plank of Fianna Fáil policy.”

Elderly rights groups, including Age Action Ireland and Alone, have previously campaigned for the Government to reverse cuts to the grant.