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Council granted €376,000 for social housing and private property improvements

County Hall
County Hall, Dundalk. Photo Credit: Adrian Crawley.

Louth County Council are to benefit to the tune of almost €376,500 of funding to improve social housing stock for people living with disabilities, with money coming via the Department of Housing.

Minister Darragh O’Brien announced the latest tranche of funding from central government on Wednesday (September 9), with money allocated to the Disabled Persons Grant scheme and the Improvement Works in Lieu of Social Housing scheme.

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The letter scheme will aim at placating some on the long term housing list who are living in a private property that is not adequate to their housing needs. The social housing waiting list in Louth currently stands at 1,829  – 365 in Ardee and mid-Louth, 752 in Dundalk and 712 in Drogheda – with a further 3,218 awaiting transfer from the Housing Assistance Payment scheme.

The funding announced yesterday is dependent on match funding of 10% being provided by the local authority. That €40,823 will bring the total available for spend to €408,231.19.

Fianna Fáil Senator Erin McGreehan welcomed the funding announcement on Wednesday morning, saying that it is “another example of how seriously this government is taking the issue of housing. We have seen unprecedented levels of funding to assist the local authority in increasing its housing stock and get people into homes.”

“Today we see a focus on funding for housing for those with disabilities and improvement schemes that keep people in their own homes comfortably and safely. Improving the quality of life for so many. This is hugely positive and will make such a positive impact on peoples lives.”

The Disabled Persons Grant Scheme provides funding for extensions and adaptations to existing social housing stock for older people and people with a disability such as grab rails, disabled access ramps, wet rooms, downstairs bedrooms etc. The scheme also provides extensions in cases of overcrowding.

Meanwhile, the Improvement Works in Lieu of social housing Scheme allows local authorities to improve or extend privately owned accommodation, where the applicant has been approved for social housing. It allows those who are otherwise eligible for social housing to remain in private housing and for enhancements to that housing.

The €18 million in funding being allocated this week, comprises almost €2 million in accrued commitments from 2019, preliminary allocations of €13.5 million towards the 2020 funding requests based on percentage of housing stock in local authority ownership, while a contingency of €2.5 million has been set aside.

Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd said; ““This funding is designed to improve housing conditions for those who need it most and will help people to live independently in their own homes for longer.

“This will also try to address issues of overcrowding in existing social housing stock, while improvement works on private homes in lieu of social housing also provides an alternative for those currently experiencing overcrowding in private accommodation.”

This funding is in addition to last month’s announcement that Louth County Council were to receive just short of €1.5 million in funding for Housing Adaptation Grants, available to assist older persons or people with disabilities living in privately owned homes who may need to make changes to aid disability.

The local authority will receive €1,469, 895 from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, with an additional 20% of the total funding – €367,474 – matched by the council.

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