Press Release

Minister Hoctor welcomes the implementation of a revised grant scheme to assist older people with their accommodation needs

Ms. Máire Hoctor, T.D., Minister for Older People, today (2nd October, 2007) welcomed the introduction of a revised scheme of grant aid to assist older people in carrying out essential repairs and improvements to their homes.

The Housing Aid for Older People Scheme, which will become operational on 1 November 2007, will provide targeted support to improve conditions in the existing housing of older people. The Minister noted ”this new scheme is vitally important in assisting older people to continue to live in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.”

The Minister continued ”following a review by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, this new grant is part of a package of reforms which will provide a more seamless set of responses to the housing needs of older people and people with a disability”.

The new scheme, which will be administered by the local authorities, will provide grant aid of up to €10,500 to cover works such as structural repairs, replacement of windows and doors, re-wiring, drylining, installation of central heating, water and sanitary services, cleaning and painting. The scheme will be funded by 80% contribution by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government with the remaining 20% being funded from local authorities own resources.

The Minister added ”the new grant scheme is part of a spectrum of housing supports for older people, ranging from grant aid to facilitate individuals staying in their own homes, to the development of sheltered housing options”. In this context, the Minister said she is pleased at the recent establishment of the Cross Departmental Team on Sheltered Housing, whose remit is to develop and oversee policy in relation to sheltered housing for older people and with whom she intends to work closely. The Minister added ‘‘the further development and expansion of sheltered housing is critical in order to continue to respond to the accommodation and care needs of older people in the community”.

Background

In order to facilitate the continued independent occupancy of their own homes by older people and persons with a disability, the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government reviewed the operation of the Disabled Persons, Essential Repairs and Special Housing Aid for the Elderly Grant schemes. Details of the revised framework of grant aid to assist older people and people with a disability were announced as part of the Government’s new Housing Policy Statement, Delivering Homes, Sustaining Communities.

Housing Aid for Older People Scheme

  • The revised scheme amalgamates the provisions of the existing Essential Repairs Grant and the Special Housing Aid for the Elderly schemes, with the aim of making habitable the homes of older people. The types of works which will be grant aided include structural repairs or improvements, re-wiring, repairs to/replacement of windows and doors, the provision of water, sanitary services, heating, cleaning, painting etc;
  • The maximum grant available will be €10,500, which may cover 100% of the cost of works. Prioritisation of eligibility will be on the basis of financial need with 100% of the approved cost of works available to those with annual household incomes of less than €30,000, tapering to 30% for those with annual household incomes of €54,001 to €65,000.

Administration

  • The revised scheme will be administered by the local authorities. The recoupment rate to the authorities in respect of individual grants will be increased to 80%. It will be the responsibility of the authorities to fund the remaining 20% from their own resources from amounts provided for that purpose in their annual estimates of expenditure;
  • The maximum grant levels will increase in line with the building cost index on an annual basis, thus protecting the value of the grant into the future. Income bands for the purposes of means-testing will be amended annually in line with wage inflation.