Westmeath County Council is to put €300,000 aside this year to cover housing adaptations for those categorised as Priority 2 applicants.
This year marks the first year that the council has taken this step. In recent years it has focused on Priority 1 applications only; however, this led to a backlog of Priority 2 applications which were left untouched.
The council was awarded its housing grant allocation for 2012 this week from the Government, a total of €988,155. Of this, €300,000 is to be used to carry out house adaptations for applicants on the Priority 2 list, at the recommendation of the council’s Housing Special Policy Committee.
The council believes this will be enough to clear the backlog, as the value of the works to be carried out under the Priority 2 heading currently stands at €278,000. The remainder will be used to tackle the Priority 1 applications.
Administration officer with the housing section of Westmeath County Council, Colm Smith, explained that Priority 1 applications are “extremely urgent”, and include applications from people who have serious medical conditions and whose houses may be unsuitable to allow them home from hospital, for example.
The Priority 2 list covers those whose health may be affected if the works are not carried out.
“Over the last couple of years we had such a high level of Priority 1s that we couldn’t touch Priority 2s, and some of these may have escalated to Priority 1 as a result. This will prevent that escalation,” said Mr Smith.
Westmeath County Council currently has 63 applications on the Priority 2 list, and 93 on Priority 1.