independent

Saturday 23 March 2019

Home Loan scheme needs funding

A Labour councillor and Chair of the Fingal Housing Strategic Policy Committee has called on the Government and Minister for Housing to urgently increase the resources available to the Home Loan Scheme as councils have been told that no further approvals should issue for now.

Cllr Duncan Smith (Lab) said: 'Fingal has led in the delivery of this scheme and it was really starting to make an impact despite the tight criteria. Fingal officials were on National radio only a few weeks ago extolling the virtues of the scheme and encouraging people to contact housing officials and work through their applications.

'This is a massive dropping of the ball by the Government. With Funding only given for 1,000 applicants under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan Scheme which was a rebrand of the old local council mortgage scheme, it is clear the Government didn't have high expectations for this scheme to be a success having not provided enough cash to finance it.'

cllr Smith added: 'The Minister for Housing should now ensure additional resources are put in place through the Housing Finance Agency to allow further loans to be made.

'This scheme is aimed at low income families who've been refused by two banks. Their earnings cannot exceed €50,000 for a single person or €75,000 for a couple. They may already have gone sale agreed, and are trying to buy a secure home.

'Families trying to access these loans will typically be paying high rents for insecure accommodation and are not eligible for social housing. These loans are often their last chance to permanent, secure home for their families.'

The Labour councillor said: 'The issuing of any directive from the Department of Housing telling councils to stop considering applications sets off alarm bells for those who are considering the Loan Scheme as their last resort or who have already started their applications.

'The Department should clarify immediately if councils are no longer accepting applications for the Home Loans Scheme; what does this mean for those who have already begun their applications process; and when will the next stream of funding be secured??

'The notion that funding for such a necessary scheme would even be allowed lapse, and result in applicants being left in limbo, during what is such a stressful period is alarming.'

Fingal Independent

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