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Written Answers. - Housing Aid for the Elderly.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 559 No. 6

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 246. Mr. Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose  asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen  if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there are almost 100,000 old age pensioners on waiting lists to have essential repairs carried out on their homes; the steps he is taking to redress this as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24703/02]

Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen Available statistics for relevant schemes which are administrated at local authority level, provide no basis for an estimated demand of the magnitude suggested in the ques[1607]tion. For example, at the end 2001, the number of applications for essential repairs grants which were awaiting approval or payment would not have exceeded some 7,500.

There are a number of schemes available to assist elderly persons to carry out essential works to their dwellings. The essential repairs grant, which is operated by local authorities, provides grant aid towards carrying out works which are reasonably necessary to prolong the useful life of a dwelling. The special housing aid for the elderly scheme, operated by health boards, assists in improving the housing conditions of elderly persons living alone in unfit or unsanitary accommodation. Typically, aid is available for necessary repairs to make a dwelling habitable for the lifetime of the occupant and generally at no cost to the applicant.

Those who do not qualify for assistance under the essential repairs grant scheme or the housing aid for the elderly scheme may, if they would otherwise be in need of local authority housing, qualify to have works carried out under the scheme of improvement works in lieu of local authority housing. Alternatively, the local authority may be able to provide a house improvement loan. Full details on these options, including application procedures, can be obtained from local authorities.


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