'Draconian' social housing form issues highlighted
THE complex nature of social housing forms was brought to the fore by West Sligo councillor Michael Clarke.
He claimed that a homeless man, who subsequently took his own life, was having difficulty completing the forms.
However, it was not clear what other issues the man was dealing with.
Clr Clarke said that the housing forms are difficult to fill out, and some people are better able to massage the system.
He said: "The whole application form could be described as draconian.
"Some of the people that we are trying to house and help are not in the right frame of mind.
"They need help.
"Other people are getting housing before these people."
Clr. Sean MacManus said that the application form is a very tough document for anyone who presents looking for social housing.
"Application forms are dictated by the department.
"I think that it is too onerous for people having to update them every year."
Clr David Cawley said that application forms were designed to cover all the basics.
"People are coming from different aspects and a form is needed to cover all the basics.
"I want to make the point that I don't think a form itself can lead to someone taking their own life.
"More than one issue will lead to someone self-harming.
"Help professionals say that in people who self harm, there are a number of issues."
Clr Michael Fleming said that he felt some people are better than others at making their cases more appealing.
Dorothy Clarke, acting County Manager said that housing staff do their best at helping individuals filling out housing forms.
"Certainly, the housing staff go out of their way to advise and help people on the application scheme.
"The form is available and in use in all Local Authorities," she added.
She said that staff will continue to give every help individuals filling out application forms.