Dáil Éireann - Volume 639 - 16 October, 2007
Written Answers. - Housing Grants.
Deputy P. J. Sheehan Deputy P. J. Sheehan
Deputy P. J. Sheehan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if a grant is available for persons who are pensioners and disabled and who reside in substandard buildings to insulate the slab walls and roofs of such buildings to conserve energy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24069/07]
Deputy Batt O’Keeffe Deputy Batt O’Keeffe
Deputy Batt O’Keeffe: There are a number of schemes operated by my Department which provide assistance to older people in carrying out essential repairs and improvements. The Essential Repairs Grant Scheme is designed to enable people whose houses cannot be made habitable in all respects at a reasonable cost to have basic repairs carried out. The types of work allowable under the scheme, which is administered by local authorities, include repairs to roofs, chimneys, gables, repair/replacement of windows and doors, drylining, rewiring, provision of central heating and insulation works. The maximum effective grant under the scheme is €9,523 and it can cover up to 100% of the cost of the works.
The Special Housing Aid for the Elderly Scheme was established to provide assistance, by way of necessary emergency repairs, to improve conditions in the existing homes of elderly persons living alone in unfit or unsanitary conditions. The scheme is operated by a Task Force under the aegis of my Department and is operated at local level by the Health Service Executive. In addition, older people will benefit from the central heating programme introduced by my Department in July 2004. This programme assists local authorities in providing central heating facilities and associated insulation works in their rented dwellings.
Following a review by my Department of the operation of the Disabled Persons, Essential Repairs and Special Housing Aid for the Elderly Grant Schemes, a revised scheme, the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme, will be introduced on 1 November 2007 and will provide targeted  support to improve conditions in the existing housing of older people. The types of works grant aided under the scheme will include structural repairs or improvements, re-wiring, repairs to/replacement of windows and doors, provision of central heating and insulation works, cleaning and painting. Under the new scheme, which will be administered by local authorities, the effective maximum grant will be €10,500 which may cover up to 100% of the cost of works.
In addition, Sustainable Energy Ireland funds and co-ordinates the Warmer Homes Scheme, which provides insulation and other energy efficiency measures to low income homes across Ireland. The service is delivered principally through community based organisations that typically provide the labour from a FÁS or Rural Social Scheme. Sustainable Energy Ireland provides funding towards overheads and materials for the operation of the service, which is provided at little or no cost to the homeowner. The services provided under the Warmer Homes Scheme include draught proofing, attic insulation, lagging jacket, low energy light bulbs and cavity wall insulation. However, it should be noted that if the building is substandard it may not be possible to utilise the Warmer Homes Scheme as it is not generally applied to houses in need of roof or ceiling repairs or where the entry to the attic space is considered unsafe.
Dáil Éireann 639 Written Answers. Housing Grants.