Westmeath County Council has been granted €400,300 to refurbish social housing units which will be re-let to individuals struggling with homelessness or on a housing list, a Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael Minister in the Department of Housing has said.
As part of the July Stimulus Programme, the Government announced over €40m for the refurbishment of voids, the largest single amount ever announced under the voids programme.
“There has been a fantastic response from local authorities to the 2020 Voids Stimulus Programme. Nationally 2,398 applications from Local Authorities across Ireland have been approved at a cost of €39.8 million, with further applications anticipated.
“I am delighted that Westmeath County Council will be allocated funding of €400,300 to refurbish and re-let 31 social housing units, which will help individuals and families who are struggling with homelessness or who are on the social housing list.
“The County Council made applications which were categorised into three funding streams, standard voids at an average cost of approximately €11,500, homeless voids at an average cost of €17,300 and long-term voids at an average cost of €47,000.
“The Department is in a position to approve these applications and our local authority can now begin its work on making these vacant units available for individuals and families so they can start a new chapter in their lives and make a home for themselves.
“My Department is helping local authorities and developers to plan and build better and more houses for people to live in, particularly during the current crisis.
“This includes providing social housing supports for people who cannot afford to provide a home for themselves and creating an environment that encourages builders to deliver houses for people who wish to buy their own home.
“I continue to work alongside the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien to ease housing constraints on families and individuals throughout our community,” Minister Burke concluded.
Funding confirmed for Disabled Persons Grant Scheme and Improvement Works
Meanwhile, the Longford/Westmeath Deputy has confirmed that his Department has approved funding of approximately €18 million for the Disabled Persons Grant scheme (DPG ) and Improvement Works In Lieu of social housing scheme (IWILs ).
The DPG 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. The scheme also provides extensions in cases of overcrowding. These additions can often be costly and outside of families’ budget, the Minister stated.
Minister Burke has announced that Westmeath County Council will receive €183,896 from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government for a total of €198,437 to make up the total budget this year. Central government provides 90 percent of total with the local authority making a ten per cent contribution.
“This is a great scheme which will impact many people, who although do not qualify for social housing, need additional resources to improve their homes. This targeted funding will greatly improve the housing conditions for our older tenants and those living with disabilities. It will also address issues of overcrowding in existing social housing stock, which we know is a big problem locally.
“I have seen first-hand through assisting constituents in the past with these applications that these grants have a huge impact on the quality of life of those who are approved. The process plays a vitally important role in helping people with a disability and people who are reaching an age in life when they are less mobile, to continue to live independently in their own homes, which is imperative.
“Funding has been increasing year on year under this scheme and this year’s allocation is a 19% increase on 2019 levels. It is a clear demonstration of the Government’s commitment to improving the lives of older people and people with a disability,” the Minister asserted.