A “significant increase” has been recorded in the number of housing adaptation grant applications to the Galway County Council for the first half of 2021, compared to the same period last year.
There were 417 applications for the scheme in the first half of 2021, with 101 - close to a ratio of one in four - from Connemara. This is almost a 50 per cent increase in applications throughout the county, when compared for the first six months of 2020, while applications from Connemara increased by more than 40 per cent.
Only a quarter of the applications have been assessed with a home inspection, presumably due to Covid-19 issues and budget constraints. The spike in applications may also be related to Covid, and people holding off during the lockdowns.
Housing adaptation grants are meant for specific home improvements to help older people, and those with a disability, live independently at home. The scheme is funded by 80 per cent from the Exchequer, and 20 per cent from the local authority.
Despite increases in applications, the funding allocations remained essentially the same in 2021 compared to 2020, with less than a three per cent increase.
“Housing adaptation grants are key to empowering people to remain living at home, in their community, close to family and friends,” said Kevin O’Hara of Sinn Féin Connemara. “It is crucial the importance of this scheme is recognised and is properly resourced so grants can be made available in a timely manner.”
Sinn Féin is calling for the housing adaptation grants to be increased by 50 per cent.