Lack of funding to meet housing grant applications

Members of the Westport electoral area committee were this week informed that there was not enough funding to meet this year’s Housing Aid for Older People Scheme due to inadequate funding received from the Government.

Senior executive officer Martin Keating explained that €3.8 million was the expected grant aid which was to have been given to the county for 2008 but it has fallen “far short of this at €2.4 million”. The housing officer said that as expenditure on previous years’ grant applications are running at a high cost level was deemed that the distribution of payments for new grant applications would not be viable.

Councillor Margaret Adams, who raised this query during the meeting, said that she was disappointed that the money allocated for people who are in a serious need was not covering this new scheme, but was instead dealing with the applications from previous years. Fine Gael Cllr John O’Malley said that a lot of people are under the illusion that they will be in receipt of these grants, with many people already seeking estimates for work which may now not be done.

Director of services Peter Hynes said that it was unfortunately a situation “not as we wish it to be” and as there is “limited funding” these grants need to be “prioritised and categorised in order of need”— a full review of this will be done in September.

Development updates

The housing officer also updated committee members on the status of the housing projects in Kilmeena and Killeen. Mr Keating said that it is expected that work on the community centre in the new Kilmeena housing development will commence after the builder’s holidays. Meanwhile, discussions are being held with the developer in the Killeen housing project to start the development in the current year. Also, three affordable apartments are to be allocated in Newport, those interested are asked to contact the area office.

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