Monday 16 September 2019

Disability grants gone for 2018 already

Cllr Michael Clarke
Cllr Michael Clarke
Director of Services Bartley Gavin

Three grants to help older people and people with a disability are so over-subscribed Sligo County Council cannot take in any more applications for 2018.

Director of Services Bartley Gavin told Councillor Michael Clarke that the three grant schemes (Housing Adaptation Grants for People with a Disability Scheme, Mobility Aids Housing Grant Scheme and Scheme of Housing Aid for Older People) were getting in more applications than they could fund.

The maximum allocation the Council will receive from the Government this year is €1.6 million.

But the Council estimates that applications approved to date for 2018 and applications still being processed now exceeds €1.65 million.

Therefore it's not accepting any more applications under the three schemes.

Councillor Clarke told Mr Gavin that the Council should do everything in their power to help these people.

"One week we're told to get the applications in and the following week their applications are sent back," said Cllr Clarke.

He called on the Council to start taking in applications for the Older People's Grant immediately.

He was seconded by Cllr Paul Taylor, who said the Council had a duty to help such applicants.

Councillor Margaret Gormley also supported Cllr Clarke and said the schemes were both giving employment to people and keeping older people in their own homes.

Cllr Clarke said: "In real terms we're saying we're not in a position to take any new applications until this time next year." Mr Gavin replied that "it will take all of this year's funding allocation to clear what we have on hand."

He said their priority was funding grants for people with an illness.

Cllr Clarke asked if the Government was aware of the situation. Mr Gavin said they wrote to the Department last year but could write to them again.

Cathaoirleach Cllr Seamus Kilgannon said the message needed to go to the four local TDs that more funding was needed for these schemes.

He was supported by Cllr Rosaleen O'Grady who said it was "a huge issue."

Sligo Champion