Councillors call for Housing Minister to meet delegation over cuts

A request for Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan to meet with a delegation over what has been described as a “crisis” in the housing sector of Galway city is still expected to go ahead despite additional funding of between €100,000 and €150,000 being confirmed yesterday for the disabled persons grants.

At a special meeting of the Galway City Council last Monday councillors voted unanimously on a motion put forward by Cllr Colette Connolly (Lab ) calling for a delegation to meet the Minister to address cuts to the disabled persons grants (from €1 million to under €300,000 ) as well as the inability of the private rented sector to meet the needs of those on the waiting list which has reached more than 5,000.

However, speaking to the Advertiser yesterday Cllr Billy Cameron (Lab ) confimed that both he and Labour TD Derek Nolan had been making representations during the last fortnight to secure additional funding for the DPG and Minister O’Sullivan “has responded to our call”.

After the Housing Progress Report 2013 was presented to the the council members on Monday, Cllr Connolly called for the meeting with the Minister to take place as a matter of urgency, adding that the housing system is in “crisis”.

Cllr Connolly said: “Effectively, the DPG budget, which provides for mobility aids, housing adaption grants, has now been used and this is only the first quarter. Furthermore, there are more than 66 applications now assessed for which there is no funding. These people are the most vulnerable, we need to send out a clear message that this is unacceptable.”

Cllr Connolly also tackled the suspension of housing services because of statutory obligations to carry out the housing needs assessment (HNA ) which is due to be given to the Government at the end of this month.

Cllr Cameron told the Advertiser that although the additional funding that was confirmed this week is not going to cater for all the applications for DPG grants it could help at least 30 applicants.

“It will go some way in alleviating the pressure. It will rectify the fact that the council grant was below what it should have been. If we get another tranche of funding later on in the year we might not be too bad.

“Families and community groups within the city are doing their level best to provide care for loved ones and neighbour. DPGs are invaluable in supporting families and individuals in adapting their homes as necessary in order to enable people to continue leading independent lives within their community, thereby avoiding the only alternative, of placing loved ones in nursing homes.”

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