New Housing Grants To Replace 40-Year Old Schemes

From: Dunphy Public Relations
Published: Sun Jan 13 2008

The schemes will replace the Disabled Persons Grants Scheme and the Essential Repairs scheme, which have been in place for over 40 years. They also replace the Housing Aid for the Elderly scheme, which was previously administered by the Health Services Executive.

The main improvements to the new grants include increased grant aid, fast tracking of applications, increased recoupment from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, and less matching funds from the applicant.

Announcing details of the schemes at last Friday’s Budget meeting of Clare County Council, Ms. Nora Kaye, Acting Director of Services with the Local Authority’s Housing section, said, "We expect to receive up to 800 applications during 2008. This is based on trends in 2007 and current activity under the new schemes."

She explained, "The new schemes will enable grants of up to €30,000 to be paid and will fast track applications under €10,000. An application has been made to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government for funding in excess of €2.5m to augment the Council’s budgetary provision and to facilitate the early payment of grants."

The three new schemes include the Housing Adaptation grant scheme, which provides assistance to persons with a disability. Qualifying works include extensions, access ramps, stair lifts, downstairs toilet facilities, adaptations to facilitate wheelchair access and other works that are reasonably necessary.

The Mobility Aids grant provides a smaller level of assistance and includes level access showers, grab-rails, stair lifts and other minor works to facilitate the mobility needs of the applicant.

The Housing Aid for Older people includes repairs to doors and windows, heating, structural repairs, re–wiring, improvement of water and sanitary services and other repair works, which are considered reasonably necessary. A total of €1.75m was spent on 206 grants in 2007.

Other features of the Housing Programme include a multi-million spend on Remedial and Regeneration works, which will significantly improve the physical and social fabric of homes and communities in a number of key areas in 2008. The areas include Shannon, Scariff, Quilty and Killaloe.

It is expected that up to 200 homes will be benefit from major improvement works in 2008, at a cost of €4.5m, much of which will be funded by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Works include roof repairs and replacement, re–wiring and insulation upgrades, window and door replacement, kitchen and bathroom improvements, and boundary wall and open space enhancements.

Meanwhile, Clare County Council has announced increased provision for housing maintenance. It is anticipated that the impact on the Council’s housing stock of the additional €22,000, plus the additional internal capital receipts allocation of €68,000, will generate a timely response to completing repairs efficiently and a shorter re-letting period. During 2007, repair requests totalling 887 were received, with 97% completed by the end of 2007.

"The importance of completing repairs as quickly as possible is an essential element of the Housing Programme. It reduces anxiety for the residents, as well as achieving economies when early repairs are nipped in the bud. Furthermore, where houses are vacant, it means that tenants are appointed quickly, thus reducing the number of vacant houses", said Ms. Kaye.

The Acting Director of Services indicated that a new Advocacy Services programme was a feature of the Council’s Housing budget for 2008.

She stated, "With Clare County Council as the lead authority, this scheme will be developed in conjunction with the Health Services Executive and the County Development Board. The programme will provide assistance to the elderly in that it will improve access to services and information and, ultimately, give a better quality of life."

A grant of 90% has been awarded under the Sustainable Communities Fund, a new fund set up under the Government’s Housing Policy ‘Delivering Homes, Sustaining Communities’ and this has facilitated the setting up of this programme in conjunction with other agencies. The scheme will be administered county–wide with officials meeting and supporting voluntary and community networks and using the Council’s area offices to enhance the service at local level.

"The programme is expected to cost in the region of €60,000 in 2008 and will be launched in the Spring", concluded Ms. Kaye.

Further enquires can be made by contacting the Housing Section of Clare County Council at 065–6846400 or 065-6846490.


Note To Editor:
- Ms. Nora Kaye, Acting Director of Services, Housing, Clare County Council, is available for interview and further comment. To arrange please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy PR on 086-8534900 or

Mark Dunphy
Dunphy Public Relations
00353-(0)868534900 (Mobile)
00353-(0)656839692 (Fax)
Company: Dunphy Public Relations
Contact Name: Dunphy Public Relations
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 00353868534900

Visit website »