Dáil Éireann - Volume 596 - 26 January, 2005
Written Answers. - Housing Grants.
Mr. R. Bruton Mr. R. Bruton
1307. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government when he first signalled his intention to review the terms on which grants are made available to persons with a disability to adapt their home; if his Department has undertaken research into the average cost of adaptations needed to accommodate a person with a disability; the details of the range of costs involved for different types of work; and if he intends to announce the results of the review and increase the maximum grant levels in order that they keep pace with the cost of necessary adaptation work. [34194/04]
Mr. R. Bruton Mr. R. Bruton
1387. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government when the maximum value of the disabled persons grants was last adjusted by his Department; the move in the index of housebuilding costs since the grant was last changed; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that many required modifications in the homes of persons with a disability cost far more than the maximum grant permitted;  and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2082/05]
Mr. N. Ahern Mr. N. Ahern
Mr. N. Ahern: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1307 and 1387 together.
The review of the disabled persons grant scheme, which was first signalled in March 2003, is currently being finalised in my Department. The cost of the works needed to adapt a dwelling to meet the needs of a disabled person can vary greatly, depending on the level of disability of the applicant and the location and type of dwelling to be adapted. For example, research done for the City and County Managers’ Association in a sample of local authority areas indicated that in 2002, the average cost of providing an extension to an existing dwelling could range from €16,500 to €25,000 and the provision of bathroom facilities from €7,000 to €15,000. The current maximum disabled persons grant of €20,320 was set in 2001. The house building cost index has increased by 8.8% in the period from December 2001 to November 2004.
Submissions received from disability support groups in the context of the review have highlighted the costs involved for disabled people in undertaking adaptations to their homes. While the disabled persons grants scheme, like other housing grant schemes operated by my Department is intended to assist persons in the provision of additional accommodation or in carrying out works of adaptation, it is not designed to cover the full cost of works for all applicants. Local authorities may provide reconstruction loans to qualified applicants who have difficulty in obtaining finance to meet the balance of the cost. In the light of the increased level of demand for assistance under the scheme it is important to ensure that the funding available is directed at those in greatest need of such assistance. On completion of the current review, I will be in a position to determine the changes required to the regulations governing the scheme with a view to achieving this aim.
Dáil Éireann 596 Written Answers. Housing Grants.